GLUTEN-FREE SHOUT OUT

Fred Meyer is demonstrating that gluten-free is not synonymous with depravation. The Kroger-owned banner has increased the selection of wheat-free foods at stores throughout the Northwest. Products are positioned within Fred Meyer's Natural Choices natural food section on the grocery side of the store. There, colorful merchandising strips on each shelf highlight the number and variety of products.

Fred Meyer is Demonstrating that gluten-free is not synonymous with depravation. The Kroger-owned banner has increased the selection of wheat-free foods at stores throughout the Northwest. Products are positioned within Fred Meyer's Natural Choices natural food section on the grocery side of the store. There, colorful merchandising strips on each shelf highlight the number and variety of products. Traditional grocery shelf talkers promote sale items.

“It's just like a regular section,” said a shopper. “Gluten-free isn't hidden in the back corner.”

The 5-foot, seven-deck display in one unit near Seattle contained a variety of gluten-free products that demonstrates just how far the category has evolved in a relatively short period of time. Items are presented mid-aisle, adjacent to baking mixes, in the dry grocery area of Natural Choices.

In another Fred Meyer location, a 10-foot gluten-free section is adjacent to produce, and in line with the bulk bins of the Natural Choices department. To the left and right, shoppers can find other specialty items like flax and spelt bread loaves, buns and muffins, and baking mixes that are organic and peanut-free.

Ready-to-eat cereals range from kid-pleasing flavors to adult-oriented options. Baking mixes present the possibilities of chocolate chip cookies and no-oats “oatmeal” cookies, waffles, pancakes, French bread, pizza dough, pie crust, cinnamon crumble coffee cake, angel food cake and vanilla layer cakes.

Gluten-free seekers of ready-made desserts can select from shelves of packaged cookies, with varieties that include pecan and lemon shortbreads, ginger flavor, chocolate chip, macaroons and creme sandwich cookies. Snack items offered in the gluten-free section include rice bars, as well as crackers and pretzels.

Bread loaves of brown rice and sesame make a nice sandwich a possibility for those on restricted diets. Breadsticks in sesame and pizza flavors are ready to eat. Rice, corn and quinoa-based pastas are available in spaghetti, fettuccine, rotini and fusilli shapes.

Fred Meyer has been promoting the gluten-free choices with radio ads spotlighting the number of categories covered.