‘Gluten’ – it’s a word which is almost sacrosanct nowadays. And so, as with any term which is over-represented, we, the Great British public, convince ourselves we know exactly what it means (we’ve all inspected gluten-free aisles in supermarkets at some point, right?).
Unfortunately, the reality is that we are still relatively uninformed when it comes to which foods actually contain gluten.
From pasta sauces to salty snacks, here we look at some of the most surprising ‘gluten-filled’ foods on supermarket shelves.
Many (good quality) crisps are simply sliced potatoes which are fried in sunflower oil and finished off with a touch of salt. So far, so gluten-free. However, what the ingredients list don’t tell you is that crisps are often packaged in factories where cross-contamination is common – and, as such, gluten could be present. This is one of the main reasons leading crisp brands, such as Walkers, can’t claim their crisps are gluten-free.
Also keep an eye out for any wheat-based flavourings, such as malt flavourings, as these contain gluten, too.
Try this gluten-free crisp alternative: Two Farmers. These crisps are hand-cooked in small batches, which means no risky cross-contamination. Best of all, the bags are fully compostable – that’s a green thumbs up from us!
We hate to break it to you, but no, sausages are not 100 per cent sausage meat. In fact, the minimum meat requirement in sausages – and many other processed meats – is a miserly 42 per cent!
Unfortunately, this means a good majority of their contents are actually salt and fillers, such as rusk, which often contain gluten. The same applies for veggie sausages, as they are loaded with wheat protein gluten. Some companies do, however, offer gluten-free rusk in their sausages, so they are safe for celiacs to eat.
Try this gluten-free sausage alternative: HECK sausages. These have a whopping 97 per cent sausage meat and, because there is so much meat stuffed inside, there’s no need for gluten-rich rusk to fill the void. Delicious!
You might think you’d be safe with innocent chocolate – it’s only cocoa butter and sugar, after all.
While it is technically true that chocolate contains no gluten in its ingredients, chocolate is often manufactured in factories where other products, such as biscuits, are made. Oftentimes, this is on the same product line and could compromise a batch of plain and simple milk chocolate, so it’s always worth checking the label before you chomp.
Try this gluten-free chocolate alternative: Luckily, many big chocolate brands, such as Nestle and Cadbury’s, run full-scale gluten-free production lines. However, we advise checking the chocolate bar regardless, as ingredients, and production lines, are subject to change.
If you’ve never read the ingredients list on a ketchup bottle, you’re among the majority. It’s only a sauce, right?
Sadly, while you might only be consuming a little bit of the red stuff, there is enough gluten in there to make any celiac incredibly ill. That’s because gluten is often used as a stabiliser and thickener in many sauces, including ketchup, mustard and pasta sauce. It’s also sometimes used in BBQ sauce in the form of barley malt flavour; this is how it gets its signature smoky flavour.
Try this gluten-free ketchup alternative: Chippa. This tomato ketchup is not only completely gluten-free, it’s also dairy-free and egg-free. That even includes their mayo (or May-O, as they call it).
While good quality ice cream typically contains no gluten in its ingredients, many low-grade desserts, such as soft scoop varieties, use wheat flour as a thickening agent.
And while delicious mix-ins, such as cookie dough and candy pieces, might help to jazz up a boring scoop of vanilla, be aware that these will contain gluten, and should be avoided by celiacs.
Try this gluten-free ice cream alternative: Breyers. Thick, rich and creamy, Breyers ice cream is made with high-grade milk and contains no wheat-based thickeners in its gluten-free flavours.
Which seemingly harmless products have you been shocked to learn contain gluten? Let us know in the comments, below.