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3 Million Plus

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,

Your Story

Any company looking to build its brand has heard, “What’s your story? Tell your story.” This is something we have struggled with over the years, for a couple reasons, not least of which is humility. And none of us at Gem City Fine Foods currently suffers from celiac disease, though some of us have food allergies. How can we tell a story about our company when it isn’t, “I was diagnosed, and suddenly my world changed!” Or something equally riveting.

Well, last evening as our owner Rick and I, CEO/ Sales and Marketing Manager Lisa, discussed the challenges of getting a buyer on board, and partnering well with distributors to get our desserts out to our fans and loyal customers, it suddenly dawned on me: We do have a story. That story is YOU.

When trying to impart the importance of quality, great tasting gluten free treats, I often revert to the story of a young mother who walked up to our table about three years ago at a GFAF Expo, and asked to look at the ingredients list for our Vegan Chocolate Cake. “It’s not that I don’t trust you,” she said, “But this is my daughter’s life.” Satisfied with the list on our spec sheet, she handed her little girl a bite size sample of that cake, and we both watched as her daughter’s eyes grew wider and a huge grin spread across her face. Then she reached out for more. “This is the first time I have ever been able to give my daughter chocolate cake,” the young woman said, and began sobbing. And I joined her. My eyes still well up when I remember that moment.

Sure, there are some great options out there for the celiac and food allergic diner these days; much tastier options than even a decade ago. And we contribute to that changing landscape. As noted in previous posts, reaching the retail or food service buyer who is confronted with far more options than freezer or refrigerator space, is a real challenge, especially if that buyer has no experience with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. So how do we do that, reach the buyer, build our brand so you can continue to enjoy a great dessert?

We tell our story. We talk about you: That little girl and her mom, or the adults recently diagnosed who attended a Dessert Walking Tour at our bakery earlier this month and were shedding tears themselves to be part of an enterprise that works for them. That’s what we do. We work for YOU. You are, indeed, our story. Of course we all want to pay the bills, maybe save to go on a little vacation, even make enough money to retire early and live well. But there are myriad enterprises in which we can work to make that happen. The path I have chosen, all of us at Gem City Fine Foods has chosen, is to work to serve YOU.

Please keep telling your story to us. We will share it loud and clear, to make sure you can enjoy the same tasty treats as those who do not contend with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or allergies to nuts. This weekend Rick and I will be at the Dallas GFAF Expo with samples, coupons, product request forms- and photo release permits. Please stop in and see us- in the NUT FREE Red Zone this year!- enjoy dessert, and tell us your story. We would like to take video coverage and photographs to share with those buyers who don’t see you out there. And to just listen to your story. Because your story is our story. Thank you.

Below, Operations Manager Randy opens the freezer door, and CEO/ Sales and Marketing Manager Lisa takes a photo, as guests on our Dessert Walking Tour, co-hosted by Travel Gluten Free, begin to enter.

Changing seasons, changing recipes.

We hope you have all had a good summer. It has flown for us, and is already feeling like fall in the evenings and early mornings here in the Rocky Mountains!

With a change in season come changes at Gem City Fine Foods. I’d like to point you to our Events and Expos page to see what’s coming up, including gluten free expos, demos in some new stores (Fresh Thyme in the Midwest, Bristol Farms in California, and finally several of our Florida Whole Foods Markets), and more- most exciting to me is teaming up again with Eliqkiti of the Travel Gluten Free Podcast on a FREE Dessert Walking Tour at our bakery! This evening event is limited to the first 15 registrants and will feature a tour of the bakery, with information about our production and packaging processes and food safety, as well as samples of our certified gluten free desserts throughout, a SWAG bag to take home, and a surprise special goody that I can’t tell you about or… Exactly. It would no longer be a surprise! Please check out this link to register:

I’m also excited to announce so much going on in Product Development. Our Operations Manager Randy has been able to set up the production schedule so that our fantastic Baker Whitney has Fridays free for product development exclusively. This has resulted in a slew of new products you will see soon on Amazon, and eventually in stores, including a PUMPKIN PIE for this holiday season. (And remember, our Pumpkin Cheesecake is available for purchase September through December every year.) For those of you who are waiting for Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes, they really are almost here. We’ll be testing packaging and shipping in the next couple weeks.

And speaking of Vegan Chocolate, I’m thrilled to announce that we have removed another allergen, soy, from our products.* Our Vegan Chocolate Cake is NOW SOY MILK FREE. We will begin shipping immediately to fulfill orders in the western states via Amazon and shipping to warehouses through our distributor KeHE. Expect to see the cake soy free in stores served by our distributor UNFI in early 2019. If you have questions about the new cake recipe and availability, feel free to contact us at So far, this day for Whitney to play in the kitchen is working out for everyone, though our waistlines are suffering!

* Please note: Our Flourless Chocolate Torte contains soy lecithin. Most people with soy allergies are not affected by the trace amount of the allergy-causing protein in soy lecithin, but we disclose this ingredient on our Torte label, and continue to list soy as an allergen present in the facility, along with dairy and eggs.

As always we encourage your questions and feedback.
I hope to see many of you at our last shows of the year, and at the Dessert Walking Tour on October 2.

Partnerships for You

I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers this morning from Angelika at Love Love Edibles in New Jersey. Love Love and Gem City Fine Foods are members of the Specialty Food Association, and we met on the discussion board as she posed a question regarding packaging and shipping frozen foods. We’ve been down that road, and are still touring it to make our own packaging materials and shipping procedures more sustainable for the future of our planet and to assure our desserts arrive in great condition today for you.

It’s my personal commitment to our company, our local, industry and wider community, and the ultimate consumer of gluten free foods, to share any resources I have with others to make sure we are all able to succeed in bringing that consumer the best quality and variety at the most affordable price, and in the best packaging for our planet. So, that meant most recently sharing our packaging materials company contact info and our new shipping partner contact info with Angelika. (BTW, we go live with PSS shipping our Flourless Chocolate Torte from Ohio tomorrow, which means a wider range- into the east coast- of two-day frozen shipping, which will eventually come back to online shoppers in the form of reduced prices.)

My reward for sharing was that beautiful bouquet of flowers as a “thank you”, and an enhanced sense of achievement at my job. Because my job, ultimately, is to serve the celiac, gluten sensitive, food allergic and gluten free community. I love my job. Please be in touch if you would like to share resources or let me know how I can do my job better for you.

With respect and commitment,
CEO/ Sales and Marketing Manager

Shelf Life

What does product shelf life mean? It’s the amount of time that a product can be stored safely, so the consumer can use it safely. In the case of our frozen desserts, there are two shelf lives we consider: both stored in the freezer, and stored in the refrigerator after thawing.

We are pleased to announce that lab results for recent shelf life testing on our torte, cakes and cheesecakes have revealed that we can update our shelf life as follows: one year in frozen and 4 weeks in the refrigerator. So you, the customer, can store our desserts longer than we had previously list, without worrying about either yeast or mold developing.

Some safety tips, before you just toss that cheesecake into the fridge and forget about it for a month:
– As soon as an item thaws, it can begin acquiring microbes that increase until the food changes looks, flavor and texture, so err on the side of safety if you purchase from the refrigerator case at the store, and don’t stretch that fridge time at home all the way to four weeks.
– This applies as well to items you buy on Amazon that arrive cold but not frozen. (We are working with Perishable Shipping Solutions to reduce this concern, so that most if not all our items purchased online arrive at your address frozen.)
– If you buy our desserts from the freezer at the store, or if an online purchase does arrive frozen, know that thawing and refreezing can offer an opportunity for microbes to be introduced. Over time, or repeated thawings and refreezings, these can multiply and affect looks, texture, and flavor of the dessert.
– Please remember to store leftover thawed product in the fridge. Our desserts are made of quality ingredients, without added chemicals to preserve them, and are not intended to remain out on the counter where microbes can affect them.

If you have questions about shelf life, or about the ingredients and shelf life of our desserts, please be in touch. We’ll be happy to help you get satisfactory answers!

The photo below shows lot number on top, which would assist us in tracking any product in the event of a food safety issue, and date stamp underneath, which shows the freezer shelf life expiration date. 


Vegan Chocolate Cake Update

From our CEO: Our Baker Whitney has been at work on all sorts of new products, as well as improvements to our current line. Top priority is to get the soy milk out of our Vegan Chocolate Cake so we can eliminate one more of the top 8 food allergens for you. And we are happy to report that by the end of August we are confident we will have accomplished that goal, with a recipe reformulation you will LOVE, if our preliminary taste tests (talk about fun at work!) are any indication. We will keep you posted, and hope the new cake will be available in stores for holidays. Putting a reformulated product on the market requires a lot of forethought and planning: ingredient label changes, pack changes for distributors, and more. In the meantime, we’ll make the new Vegan Chocolate Cake available online at Amazon and on our website as soon as possible. I personally can’t wait for you to try it! -Lisa
p.s. Last week I made a fresh strawberry sauce for the top of our Vegan Chocolate Cake and brought the whole thing to a Fourth of July party. Big hit- try it!

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Delicious vegan chocolate cake


This morning we received a card announcing our 5th year anniversary as a member of the Specialty Food Association. A handwritten card. How nice is that these days? A token of appreciation and partnership that means a lot, especially as Lisa and Rachel prepare to attend the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City this coming weekend. In fact, this gesture we received in the mail today almost overshadowed the item we received over the weekend: Our sofi Award trophy!

So far, 2018 has been a fabulous year, not just because our signature Flourless Chocolate Torte was recognized with a Bronze Medal in the Gluten Free Category by the SFA sofi judges. We have grown our ability to reach celiac and gluten sensitive customers almost twofold, through our distributors, Amazon and the connections that shows, expos and social media can create. In fact, we are thrilled to be working with bloggers Life After Wheat, My Gluten Free Miami and Vegetarian Mamma, and podcaster Elikquitie of Travel Gluten Free to bring you updates and goodies you can win. Once we go live with Perishable Shipping Solutions after the 4th of July holiday, we will be even better poised to get our desserts to more people in pristine frozen or cold condition. And soon you will be able to click on our website to order straight from there, as well as on, for those who prefer that online shopping platform.

We have gone nut free (except, we like to joke, for those of us employees who are still allowed to stick around.) And we are in the throes of product development so we can bring you new offerings in deluscious certified gluten free desserts. In fact, our fantastic Baker Whitney delivered a tray of cakes to management meeting for us to try, including a Carrot Cake we believe will be an improvement in moisture content after freezing, and a soy milk free Vegan Chocolate Cake that is amazing! When finalized, this will put us even closer to eliminating food allergens from our desserts.

We will keep you posted as we add stores and products to our repertoire, all with the mission in mind: We will become the premier provider of certified gluten free desserts in the United States. If you have an idea for a new product, be in touch. And if you would like to see our desserts made available in your favorite store, share the request you see here on this post with your store manager. We can work together to live our mission at Gem City Fine Foods to provide you with the treats you want to eat!

We Love Reviews!

We received this feedback postcard in the mail today, and it made me think to put it out there: We love reviews. Not just because when they are great, we feel happy, but because there is always some information we can use to improve our products or customer service. Even a great review reminds us that we may be doing well, but that’s no reason to sit back and think we can’t do better.

For instance, you may know our products are available on Amazon. (Just click on the icon on our website to visit and order.) We ship frozen, and include a postcard just like the one you see here. But our desserts have not always arrived nice and cold, or still frozen, and in lovely condition. Over the past couple years we have learned a lot from customer feedback, have dropped one option for shipping, and have invested a lot of time, money and thought into packaging materials that will allow us to get that gluten free treat to you anywhere in the continental US, ready to eat.

In fact, we are excited to say we are partnering with Perishable Shipping Solutions to improve on our shipping to you, including moving to a new package that is recyclable and breaks down in water for a much more environmentally friendly package than the styrofoam we have used in the past. The Eastern part of the country will now receive orders from the PSS facility in Ohio, while the Western region will continue to receive orders straight from our bakery in Utah. This will allow us to reduce shipping time- and costs, passing the savings on to the customer, and increase the likelihood that packages will arrive frozen or cold.

So, when you order from Amazon, please send us that postcard. It will only take you a few minutes to complete, and it will give us a chance to consider how we might further improve our products and customer service. And please complete a review right on Amazon to help us get feedback and to help other celiac or gluten free dessert lovers find a treat they love.

And if you buy our desserts at a store, or try them at a demo or expo, and love them, please review us on our Facebook page. We add these reviews to our website and to our testimonials page, which we print out to give to potential buyers. Showing buyers how mcuh the customer likes our desserts increases the possibility that down the road you may find us in more stores, at your school, in a local restaurant… Who knows?

Finally, we are happy to say our Baker, Whitney, is now able to devote more time in the kitchen to new product development and current product improvement. That means more sweet choices for the customer! Let us know by email or phone call (see our Contact page for how to get in touch) what new certified gluten free frozen dessert you’d like to be able to enjoy.

And thank you for your feedback!

News for June

We are back from our second trip to the National Restaurant Association Show, where this year we talked with even more people who are celiac, gluten sensitive, or for other reasons eat gluten free. It’s eye opening to attend a trade show and meet people who want to talk personally about their own experiences, outside of professional discussion of goods and services. These conversations further solidify our commitment to gluten free.

In June we will go “live” with Perishable Shipping Solutions, a company from Ohio, to fulfill Amazon and direct ship orders to the eastern half of the US. Speaking of trade show connections, we met Mark of PSS at the New England Food Show in Boston in February and have been working with him and his team to make it easier and safer to ship frozen to our customers back east. Combined with our ability to fill orders in-house from our bakery in West Valley, UT, we will now be able to send frozen certified GF tasty desserts 2-day to most of the country! We are really looking forward to this partnership.

As you know, we are now a nut free facility. By early in June you should be able to see our Carrot Cake and Triple Berry Streusel Cheesecake sans almonds or pecans, in most stores. We consider this milestone to be the next step in accommodating those with food allergies, and will then tackle the soy milk in our Vegan Chocolate Cake. Keep your eyes peeled for this next development. We hope to be able to say that cake has no soy by the time the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference (FABblog Con) rolls around in November.

In June our show schedule cools down quite a bit, though CEO/ Sales and Marketing Manager Lisa and Office Assistant Rachel will attend the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City later in the month. We are thrilled to be able to present our sofi Bronze-winning Flourless Chocolate Torte at a sofi winners Meet and Greet that Saturday! We also have been invited to have lunch with a Rabbi who lives in New York, who will introduce us to the steps involved in Kosher certification. This is another path we have discussed for a while and will finally pursue. More after the show!

Finally, June 30 is the last day to use our Spring 2018 manufacturer coupon, which you can download from our Specials page and print or pull up on your mobile phone at checkout. There are plenty of demos scheduled during the next month, around the Salt Lake City area in particular, where you can pick up coupons and try samples, too. Check out our Events and Expos page for dates, times and locations. Denver dates will be added soon. Look for our Summer coupon on July 1.

Blogs and Things

I had the pleasure this week of meeting several people we have worked with over the past few years, face-to-face.  Many of the people with whom I met had been names in emails, or voices on the phone. A face applied to a conversation can make a huge difference in comfort level when communicating. At least for me. In one meeting, a sales rep joked about working with bloggers: “Do you sit across from each other and email each other?” I likened the scenario to walking down the street, or across campus in the small city where I live, and seeing three young people abreast, all walking together as a group, but each texting someone else not there at the same time.

I won’t say how old I am, but I will let you in on a secret: I used to aim to live to 100; however, as quickly as “times change,” I no longer strive for that goal. I can barely keep up with technological advances in communication, and certainly cannot use tech to its fullest capacity. I’m lucky I can remember how to press the correct button to write a new blog entry weekly.

What does any of this have to do with gluten free yummy desserts? Well, here you are, reading a blog post on your computer or mobile phone. You have probably clicked on other of our web pages, or our Facebook page, or have checked out our Instagram or Twitter account. Maybe you have even “liked” or are “following” us. If that is the case, I would like to point you to our latest collaboration, to get the word, and the goods, out to celiac, gluten sensitive and food allergic people around the country:

We have begun to work with food bloggers in Utah, the Midwest and Florida, and have teamed up to offer Gem City Fine Foods giveaways in honor of Celiac Awareness Month. If you follow There Is Life After Wheat, Vegetarian Mamma, or GF Miami, you will see that you can enter to win any of a number of product prizes we are giving away. We love working with these bloggers, who offer all sorts of tips, ideas, news- and mouthwatering photos, too!- to those of you with dietary restrictions, including celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Also, recently I was interviewed by Elikqitie for a segment in her new podcast Travel Gluten Free. If you are a podcast listener, check out her new venture!

I hope  you will look up the blogs and podcasts I mentioned above, and take advantage of other food blog opportunities to keep informed and safe and healthy. And check in with us here or by email or phone with your questions and suggestions.

Thank you.



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