Free From Category Report 2017

A trusted symbol

Sir, It was great to see your Focus on… free from report on the rise and rise of this once niche category. And we couldn’t help but notice the Crossed Grain symbol as the go-to gluten-free image used liberally across the images.

What many of your readers may not realise is that the symbol was designed by the husband of a Coeliac UK member, Michael Carpenter, in the late 1960s, who generously gifted the copyright to the charity. Fifty years later the symbol is internationally recognised by those who need to follow a gluten-free diet and is protected by copyright and trademark registrations owned by Coeliac UK on behalf of the gluten-free community. It is a sign of safety and integrity that is trusted by consumers. A recent Coeliac UK membership survey indicated that our members actively seek out the symbol as a source of trust and reassurance when making product choices and it is seen as the most important means of communicating that a product is safe for the gluten-free diet.

The boom in gluten-free is wonderful news for the 1.3 million Britons on a gluten-free diet. And the symbol will continue to signpost safety and quality. Further information on the logo and how to apply for a licence is at

Sarah Sleet, chief executive, Coeliac UK

Safety inspections’ future

Sir, Your Hot Topic on our report Regulating Our Future was misleading. This programme is not about ‘doing away entirely with inspections for some big companies’.

Every food business will have to meet stringent standards set by the FSA. If we are convinced that if a business (of any size) is meeting our standards and has robust processes, then we can look to reduce duplicated checks and inspections. This is categorically not about doing away with hygiene and standards inspections by local authorities. The only circumstance in which a business might not be part of a regular inspection would be because the safety risk is so low it doesn’t warrant it. But where a risk to the public has been assessed, inspections will still be part of how we gain assurance that food is safe and what it says it is. What will be different is the nature, frequency and intensity of those inspections where private assurance meets the standards set by the FSA.

Heather Hancock, chairman, Food Standards Agency

Shrinkflation promotion

Sir, As the recent ONS report revealed, many brands are downsizing packs to reduce cost and maintain their price point. Promotions can increase engagement with the customer throughout this without impacting the price. Improved engagement can foster loyalty in a way price alone cannot.

Chris Baldwin, director of consumer promotions and loyalty, Sodexo Benefits and Rewards