Convenience retailers should commit to stocking four key gluten-free items, according to a new campaign by Coeliac UK.
The charity is taking its Gluten-free Guarantee campaign to convenience stores to improve access to staple gluten-free products for customers on the go.
The campaign originally launched for supermarkets and successfully convinced the multiples to stock a basket of at least eight staple gluten-free products across all stores.
Coeliac UK said small local shops sized under 3,000 sq ft should commit to stocking fresh gluten-free bread of any type, gluten-free breakfast cereal, gluten-free pasta and food-to-go sandwiches or wraps labelled gluten free.
Supported by BBC TV presenter Chris Bavin, the convenience campaign will launch at the National Convenience Show at the NEC Birmingham from 24 to 26 April.
“I am thrilled to be supporting Coeliac UK’s campaign to get smaller retailers to commit to a supply of gluten-free food,” said Bavin.
“My wife has coeliac disease and I know how difficult it can be not being able to pick up everyday essentials when out and about or find something to eat on the move. Shopping more frequently for less is common now and people who follow a gluten-free diet want the same convenience and choice as everyone else. So we’re asking for retailers to sign up to this Gluten-free Guarantee campaign and make shopping easier for everyone.”
According to research by Coeliac UK, 80% of those surveyed said they had to visit more than one retailer to complete their gluten-free shopping and though 50% of those on a gluten-free diet tried to buy food while they were at work, more than 75% found it difficult.
“We believe a basket of gluten-free products should be as widely available as their standard equivalents, and that retailers can help make this a reality,” said Coeliac UK chief executive Sarah Sleet.
“As well as everyday essentials, people want to see more options for gluten free on-the-go. Half of our survey respondents say they try to buy food when they’re out or at work, but still three-quarters of them tell us they find it difficult to buy something safe for them to eat.”