Gluten-Free Group to Endorse Lunds

EDINA, Minn. Lund Food Holdings is working with the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG) to gain its official endorsement of Lunds and Byerly's stores. PCC Natural Markets set a precedent last May when it gained GIG's seal of approval, but not before completing an 18-month process involving a more standardized way of identifying gluten-free foods and extensive staff training. Lunds must

EDINA, Minn. — Lund Food Holdings is working with the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG) to gain its official endorsement of Lunds and Byerly's stores.

PCC Natural Markets set a precedent last May when it gained GIG's seal of approval, but not before completing an 18-month process involving a more standardized way of identifying gluten-free foods and extensive staff training. Lunds must undergo similar changes before GIG will vouch for the chain, said Cynthia Kupper, executive director of GIG.

“Endorsement will give gluten-free consumers confidence in the store so they don't have to double-check everything,” she said.

Guidelines are based on common frustrations of those living gluten-free. Since misinformed store associates top their list of gripes, GIG mandates that all employees complete its training program.

“Key personnel will have more knowledge about celiac disease, gluten intolerance and gluten-free foods than say, a box boy, but the box boy still has to have some understanding,” Kupper explained. Staff are tested during secret shopper visits.

Another stipulation is a set way of identifying gluten-free foods that is updated regularly and based on the retailer's own criteria.

What GIG won't dictate is how grocers highlight gluten-free items. PCC uses shelf-talkers, but that won't be required of Lunds.

“We want the stores to be unique,” Kupper said.