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Retailer Roundtable: What standards do you look for in gluten-free products?

Four natural retailers share their thoughts on the gluten-free trend.

Karri Short, owner and manager of Natural Planet in Kingman, Ariz.I think too many people are on gluten-free diets because they think they are eating very healthfully, although that isn’t always the case. The term gluten free is stamped on so many products today, and it simply helps brands market products. I stock what my customers ask for, but if I have the choice, I look for natural, raw and low-sugar gluten-free foods.

-Karri Short, owner and manager of Natural Planet in Kingman, Ariz.

Hannah McKnight, manager at Eats Natural Foods Co-op in Blacksburg, Va.Often we check to see if a product is organic in addition to gluten free. Products that are gluten free, organic and reasonably priced for shoppers are tough to come by. Listening to customers also helps us find new and clean gluten-free products to try.

-Hannah McKnight, manager at Eats Natural Foods Co-op in Blacksburg, Va.

Sunny McDonald-Sargent, gluten-free manager and buyer at Raisin Rack Natural Foods in Westerville, OhioWe prefer gluten-free products to be certified. If we really want to bring in a product and it’s not certified, we will contact the manufacturer and ask questions about the facility to determine if we can carry and advertise it as gluten free. As far as ingredients go, we don’t stock anything with hydrogenated oils or artificial flavors.

-Sunny McDonald-Sargent, gluten-free manager and buyer at Raisin Rack Natural Foods in Westerville, Ohio

Clint Pederson, co-owner of Jake’s Gluten Free Market in Boise, IdahoA gluten-free certification is the first thing we look for, but even that isn’t a 100 percent guarantee that a product is gluten free. Now where we’re getting sucker punched are products that have the GF seal but the fine print says ‘made on equipment that processes wheat.’ We encourage our customers with hypersensitivities to be vigilant about reading labels.

-Clint Pederson, co-owner of Jake’s Gluten Free Market in Boise, Idaho

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