For some people following a gluten-free diet is vital, for others it is necessary and for a growing number of people in the UK, it is a lifestyle choice. Whatever the reason, the demand for gluten-free products is growing. As a healthy vending company, we see it as incredibly important to include healthy choices for everyone in our machines. We have put together this article to explain why we see the gluten-free product choice as fundamental to our healthy vending product menu.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It is used in a variety of products including bread, pasta and cereal. The protein is used in bread as it helps the dough to rise and give it a chewy texture and is also used to thicken soups and sauces.
Coeliac Disease is when your immune system reacts to gluten, leading to damage to the lining of the gut. This lifelong serious disease causes a variety of symptoms including, bloating, diarrhoea, nausea and headaches. It is only gluten which brings on these symptoms, and if coeliac suffers continue to consume it, long-term health issues can occur. Some people are intolerant to gluten although don’t face the same long-term side effects as those with coeliac disease. These people can help ease their symptoms if they avoid gluten.
For those with Coeliac Disease, there is only one treatment, which is to follow a gluten-free diet. By ditching gluten of any kind, it gives time for a person’s gut to heal and therefore symptoms improve. There is a variety of food which does not contain gluten such as fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. While this makes it possible for those who suffer to have good food at home, it is still difficult when out and about.
Most standard vending machines will only contain popular snacks which usually contain gluten. This is shocking today when there are so many delicious gluten-free snacks available today, proudly displaying the label. Of course, they can be enjoyed all the same by those who do not need to avoid the protein.
It is estimated that around 1% of the UK population has coeliac disease and yet, 12% of people in Britain claim to follow a gluten-free diet. Whilst some of this percentage will be those who are gluten intolerant there is a rise in those who choose gluten-free as a lifestyle choice, despite never having had an issue with it. It is these unexpected gluten-free followers which have led to a large growth in the ‘free from’ section in supermarkets and gluten-free menu options in restaurants.
It is hotly debated why people would choose to follow this diet. Many coeliac sufferers find avoiding gluten hard so can’t understand why someone would choose to. The reason many people choose the diet is for health reasons (including losing weight), but there is little or no evidence to support this. Instead, often more fat and sugar is added to replace the missing gluten. However, the diet does help people cut down on the food we overindulge in, such as bread.
Other than for health reasons, people may opt for a gluten-free diet as they believe it boosts their energy or even treats autism. Most of these beliefs seem to stem from media portrayals of celebrity’s endorsing the diet. When discussing gluten=free diets, Dr Daniel A Leffler, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School had this to say, “People who are sensitive to gluten may feel better, but a larger portion will derive no significant benefit from the practice.”
By providing gluten-free products, we ensure that those who would usually miss out can get a healthy snack on the go. Although there seems little health benefit in avoiding gluten for those who don’t need to, the rise in popularity has meant an increase in the gluten-free product market, providing more choice for those who need it. In 2017, the ‘free from’ market showed a massive 27% rise in sales.
Our Doozy product menu includes 8 different gluten-free products. This includes protein bar Trek, and crisp alternative Eat Real as well as one of our newest products, Love Corn. Whether you want/have to avoid gluten or just like delicious healthy snacks, our Doozy gluten-free products can be enjoyed by all.