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Giant Food of Landover, Md., Giant-Carlisle/Martin's and the Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. have made it easier for shoppers in search of gluten-free foods to find them. The Ahold USA divisions placed eye-catching shelf labels denoting gluten-free items in all of their stores. The blue-and-green labels appear below about 3,000 private label and national-brand products identified by the grocery chains as gluten-free.
“We want to make grocery shopping as convenient as possible for all our shoppers,” said Anthony Hucker, president of Giant Food, which operates 173 supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, and employs about 22,000 associates. “People who maintain gluten-free diets no longer have to check ingredients on every item they purchase in Giant, but instead look for the blue-and-green gluten-free shelf tags. We’re happy to offer this convenience to all our customers, whatever their dietary needs may be.”
"Over the past several years, Stop & Shop has received an increasing number of customer requests for gluten-free products within our stores," said Suzi Robinson, manager of public and community relations for Stop & Shop's New England division in Quincy, Mass. "To help customers more easily identify gluten-free products in our stores, we have introduced a new gluten-free shelf-labeling system."
"Demand for gluten-free products continues to rise," added Jeff Beaulieu, VP, sales and merchandising at Pennsylvania-based Giant-Carlisle/Martin's. "We want to make it easier for our customers to identify these products while bringing awareness to our increased assortment."
Stop & Shop has also rolled out the quarterly health-and-wellness publication Kid Healthy Ideas, which Giant-Carlisle/Martin's introduced earlier this month. Geared to children ages 8 to 12, the 12-page full-color magazine features health-related educational articles, games and recipes.
An estimated 3 million Americans have celiac disease, an immune disorder in which gluten damages the lining of the small intestine, making a gluten-free diet necessary. Many more Americans choose to follow a gluten-free diet for other personal or health reasons. Gluten is a protein found in such carbohydrates as wheat, barley, and rye, and can also be used as an additive in items like soy sauce and licorice.
In 2009, the grocer introduced "Healthy Ideas," an innovative, exclusive shelf-labeling system to help customers identify healthy choices.