The May/ June 2018 issue of Simply Gluten Free Mag contains a full page color spread map of the world, listing the percentages of people in various countries with celiac disease. In the US, 1% of the population has celiac disease. That may not look like a huge number, but there are an estimated (Feb ’18) 327.16 million people in this country. That means more than 3.25 million are celiac. That is, diagnosed. How many more people have not yet been diagnosed? Add them, and the number of people who are gluten sensitive or eat a gluten free diet for other reasons, then family and friends who eat gluten free because they have a family member or friend who has to, and you have a lot of people. Just last weekend alone in Dallas, 2,700 people attended the GFAF Expo, and we were thrilled to hear their stories and share samples, coupons, and Product Request Forms with them.
We bring these forms to every expo, and post a link on our Home page that can be downloaded and printed. Why? Because many retail stores still carry only a nominal variety of gluten free foods, many of them not even certified, and everyone deserves to eat good food, regardless of dietary restrictions. And that includes dessert.
I’ve been finding myself in a position to tell this story quite a bit lately: A couple years ago at a gluten free expo, before we had Product Request Forms, I encouraged a woman who had enjoyed samples of our desserts to take my card to her store manager and request them. She looked me in the eye and asked testily, “You want me to sell your desserts for you?”
Let me be frank: No. I do not want you to do my job. I want you to understand that there is a chain of people between the sales person at Gem City Fine Foods and the store manager at your local grocer, and often even more links in a larger store chain. These include retail buyers and category managers, distributor sales reps, category managers and buyers, and even freight company drivers and managers. I cannot get to every store. And one person alone does not have the voice of many. I support every single gluten free dessert lover in the United States by working every day to bring high quality, delicious desserts to more stores and restaurants and colleges and… Well, you get the picture. But I can’t do it alone. I need every single person who has tried our desserts and wants to have them in a store nearby to speak up for yourselves as well. Bring that form to your store. Tell the manager there are millions of gluten free and celiac people in this country who deserve to eat food as good as everyone else gets to eat. Make a difference, not to make my job easier (because there will always be yet another challenge, which I love), but to make your life better.
Please be in touch any time with your story, questions, comments and concerns. You will find my contact information on our Services page.
With respect for and commitment to every celiac, gluten sensitive and food allergic person in this country,