The Whole Foods gluten free bakery in North Carolina is closing. This is sad news for those of us that love their salted caramel mousse cake, cheddar and chive biscuits, or have ever enjoyed their gluten free pies.
Whole Foods says its because third party gluten free bake houses have diminished the need for their own bakehouse. What was special about the Whole Foods bakehouse was that they tested every ingredient coming into the facility and tested every finished product to ensure the product was truly gluten free.
The reason this is sad is that the Whole Foods baked goods were unique in the gluten free world. They may have contained other allergens, like peanuts, tree nuts, or eggs. A lot of other baked goods in the gluten free world try to eliminate all allergens hoping to appeal to a wider market. I get it. It is smart marketing. Removing all 8 of the top allergens just doesn’t always satisfy the palate the way leaving something only gluten free would.
We were recently at Disney and I asked about dessert at Be Our Guest. They have French food there, so the chef that was talking to me about the allergy menu told me that they had plant based creme brulee.
Now, creme brulee is one of my favorite desserts and is made of sugar, cream, vanilla, salt, and egg yolks. That is hardcore dairy, gluten free, and definitely not plant based. I asked if it had any of those ingredients – he said it had vanilla and salt just like the original but everything else was plant-based. I chose not to have the dessert. My point is that a perfectly good gluten free dessert was not the same with the removal of the dairy.
I can see how the niche market of gluten free bakery product buyers might not be that profitable. Expanding to include all 8 allergens might be a great business decision. It just makes me sad that a perfectly good gluten free bakery has to go by the wayside.