Gluten-Free Bargains

We put our next issue to bed and it is now at the printer’s going through the various stages that eventually deposit it in subscribers’ mailboxes. That means I have a little time to take deep breaths, become reacquainted with my life, and catch up on odds and ends.
Last night that meant going shopping.

I stopped at the Christmas Tree Shop which, for whatever reasons, has nothing to do with Christmas trees, at least not in August. Let’s say it’s the home of cheap items you didn’t know you needed and some you do, including an odd assortment of food. I was truly surprised to find a box of Glenny’s gluten-free oatmeal cookies for $2.99.

Needless to say I was dubious about the oatmeal, but according to the box: “Gluten Free Oats are more expensive than regular oats because of the Gluten Free inspection process necessary for growing through baking and packing.” So I called the company and was told they buy their oats from Only Oats in Canada, which to my knowledge is a reputable company.

The price differential was considerable. On the company’s website the cookies sell for $11.99 plus, presumably, shipping, for 20 cookies or two boxes. I got 10 cookies for $2.99, which would be $4 less and no shipping (to be technical about it, I did drive there and back which means some cost for gas and it took more time than ordering on line). Still I would call it a good deal.

My next job is to taste them and if they are really good, to find out how often the Christmas Tree Shop stocks them. I suspect it’s trial and error there and they stock them when they can get a good deal by buying great quantities.

There was another gluten-free product right next to the oatmeal cookies – Goldbaum’s GF ice cream cones. A box of 10 was $2.99, which is a steal. I couldn’t find out much about them or the company, but I can tell you they are delicious. They taste a bit like the fortune cookies we used to enjoy at Chinese restaurants but can no longer eat, albeit with a little cocoa powder thrown in. I wasn’t able to track their price from venues other than the Christmas Tree Shop but suspect it would be more than I paid.

Christmas Tree Shops appear to be an east coast phenomenon with onsite retail sales only so I’m sorry to disappoint those who live elsewhere. It will probably take me six months or more to get back there but my guess is that when I do, there will be a few gluten-free products available and likely the two I bought last night won’t be on the shelves.

What’s astounding, however, is that there were any at all. Apparently the Christmas Tree Shops buy in ultra large quantities when they can get a good price. So you never know what will be available when you visit. Essentially they took a chance on a gluten-free product, which is just one more measure of how much gluten-free has caught on in our society.

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