This week, I'm sharing ways to shop and save on gluten-free products. Yesterday, I wrote about Target.
Locally, I have a lot of options for “regular” grocery shopping, and I often hit two stores each week to take advantage of the loss leaders and other sales. Once I went gluten-free, I didn't want to have to add more errands to my week, so I started looking for GF products in the stores I was already visiting instead of heading to Whole Foods (though I ended up there, after all!).
The selection in the big chains Giant and Safeway were iffy–most stores didn't even carry the Betty Crocker GF mixes, let alone the specialty brands. The Shoppers store near me surprised me with this big endcap of Bob's Red Mill products, including gluten-free baking mixes and flours.
Trader Joe's was a little more helpful, in that they provided me with a printout of all their gluten-free products, though I found that not all the items were carried in my store (it varies in different parts of the country). I like the GF English Muffins in the fresh bread section, but they're pricey!
Whole Foods had very spotty shelf tags, so while the baking aisle had lots of green Gluten-Free tags to draw your eye, it was harder to find the GF products elsewhere in the store. I asked at Customer Service for the guide they mention on their website, but they didn't have it.
It helps when stores provide lists of specialty products, because it's awfully hard to take the time to read labels with three kids in tow! This resource may be helpful: About.com's links to GF product lists for grocery stores nationwide.
When shopping the local stores for gluten-free products, keep this in mind: we're talking about specialty foods–items with replacement ingredients or processed in certified-GF plants. There are plenty of foods in grocery stores that are naturally gluten-free: produce, dairy, and basics like brown rice. I've found that cooking some of my family's favorite meals required no adjustment at all; they were already healthful and gluten-free.