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To mark Celiac Awareness Month in May, Wegmans Food Markets is sharing information from experts on living a gluten-free lifestyle, and promoting no-fuss ways for those who wish to avoid gluten to eat, cook and entertain.
Among the Rochester, N.Y.-based grocer’s promotions during the month are in-store gluten-free product demos with sampling on Saturdays; information from Alessio Fasano, M.D., director for the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, on new developments in his field in an interview on the Wegmans Fresh Stories blog; ideas from chef Bill Makofski regarding easy gluten-free meals, also on the blog; a summertime entertaining guide noting which offerings have no gluten ingredients; and tweets featuring additional tips and facts about living gluten-free.
Shoppers can sign up for Wegmans’ free e-mail newsletter, Fresh News, to find out more about Celiac Awareness Month activities in the grocery chain’s store, or ask Nature’s Marketplace section staff at their local Wegmans.
According to Wegmans nutritionist Trish Kazacos, it’s much easier than it was just a few years ago for folks to shop, cook, eat and even entertain while remaining gluten-free. She attributes this change to better labeling, such as the gluten-free Wegmans Wellness Key on food packages, as well as labels on Wegmans prepared foods and the option for catering department customers to see at a glance which items contain no gluten.
Another reason is that a greater number of gluten-free products are now formulated to taste more like the mainstream foods they’re replacing. “Many of the most popular foods you can think of -- bread, pizza, pasta, cakes, cookies -- are traditionally made with wheat flour and are, therefore, off-limits in a gluten-free diet,” noted Kazacos, who has gluten sensitivity herself. “But over the last decade, new gluten-free versions have reached grocery shelves, and some taste so good you’d really never know the difference. Everyone at the table can eat and enjoy the same things -- it’s easier for the cook or host, and it helps those on a gluten-free diet feel just like everybody else, instead of ‘different.’ That may be especially important for gluten-free kids.”
Wegmans has also launched a pilot program at 42 stores in six states, during which The Pizza Shop will offer Conte’s Gluten-free, Bake-in-Bag Pizza in Pepperoni, Mushroom Florentine or Margherita varieties for Market Café customers.
Additionally, Wegmans’ seasonal list of products that families use most, with prices frozen through Aug. 24, includes many gluten-free options. As well as foods that are naturally gluten-free, like fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry, fish and dairy products, more than 160 products bear Wegmans’ Gluten-free Wellness Key, among them Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Gluten Free Homestyle Waffles, Thin Shaved Smoked Honey Ham, Food You Feel Good About Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce & Baked Beans, Food You Feel Good About Organic Lemonade, Wegmans Creamy Ranch Salad Dressing, Food You Feel Good About Mandarin Orange Bowls, and Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.
Family-owned Wegmans operates 81 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.