Earlier this fall, gluten-free brand Enjoy Life Foods announced that nearly 20 if its allergy-friendly SKUs had achieved FODMAP Friendly Certification. FODMAP (an acronym for fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) refers to short-chained carbohydrates that can lead to gas, bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea. As a result, many people are now adhering to a FODMAP-free diet. And some brands are starting to wonder whether being FODMAP friendly certified is the new gluten-free.
“We consistently ask our consumers what’s important to them, and starting about six years ago or so, we started hearing about FODMAP,” says Joel Warady, Enjoy Life Foods’ general manager and chief sales and marketing officer. About a year ago, he says, the brand started hearing a whole lot more about this specialty diet. “We thought we’d test our products to see if they even met the requirements,” Warady explains. “We found that without changing any of our recipes, we had over 20 SKUs that were certifiable FODMAP Friendly.”
The process for achieving FODMAP Friendly Certification is a bit different -- and more comprehensive -- than achieving other certifications like kosher, for example, which require demonstrating a paper trail. “With FODMAP Friendly Certification, labs are testing the amount of sugars in a product, the types of sugars used, every ingredient and flavor included,” Warady says. “Then, they come back with a pass or fail for each product.” All in all, he says the testing process took about four months.
But would he recommend it to other brands? It depends. “We’re known as an allergy-friendly, gluten-free company, but we look at ourselves as a product line for people on specialty diets,” Warady says. For example, while the company would not necessarily describe itself as a vegan company, about 75 percent of its products are vegan. “With FODMAP, there is a need out there, but how big that need is is questionable,” he adds. “What I would say to other brands is, if you feel your products can be certified FODMAP as they are, it can’t hurt to do it. We aren’t reformulating to meet FODMAP standards at this moment.”