The Financial Strain Of Gluten Free Living.

Anyone who has or cares for someone with special dietary requirements will have noticed the massive difference in price between ‘normal’ products and free from products. The cost of basic free from essentials is enough to make your eyes water. Below I’ve compared a weekly shop for myself and Mia and a weekly shop for Theo to show the huge price difference.

Myself and Mia –

Milk – £1
Bread – 80p
Butter – 80p
Yoghurt – £1.50
Cereal – £1.50
Eggs – £1.
Fruit – £7 (approx.)
Veg – £5 (approx.)
Meat – £15 (approx.)
Frozen – £10 (approx.)

Per week – £43.60
Per month – £174.40
Per year – £2092.80

Theo –

Milk – £5 (based on 4 cartons a week).
Bread – £7 (based on 2 loaves a week)
Butter – £1
Yoghurt – £3 (approx.)
Cereal – £2.50
Eggs – as above.
Fruit – as above.
Veg – as above.
Meat – as above.
Frozen – £20 (approx.)

Per week – £66.50
Per month – £266
Per year – £3192

Ludicrous, isn’t it?

As you can see, just buying essentials for both non allergic and restricted diets really does add up. But why?

Supermarkets gain huge profit from ‘the free from section’. The significant rise in those requiring specialist foods has not gone unnoticed by the top dogs and by expanding their range, and inflating the price, they are for want of a better phrase, ‘rolling in it’. But how is this fair? We don’t ask for allergies, we don’t request that food make us so poorly, so why should we pay the price? For those on a single income like me, putting food in tummies is hard enough.

Often production of ‘free from’ products requires specialist machinery, therefore an enlarged workforce and so on… so from that perspective, I can see why the cost would rise a little. Many ‘free from’ products are produced by small businesses who cannot offer competitive pricing against the big brands.

I find a great way to try to keep costs down is by checking normal items, if you are not gluten-free, finding items free from dairy, soya etc. is relatively easy. Finding items that are gluten-free despite not being labelled as such is a little harder, but not impossible. I also try to cook naturally gluten-free as much as possible to limit expenditure.

Emma Amoscato (Free From Farmhouse) recently wrote ‘The Problems With The Free From Aisle‘ – she’s also mum to two littles with allergies and this post is great, follow the link to read.

What do you do to keep the cost of free from living down? Comment below!

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4 Comments

  1. Manny - The Greenwich Mummy 4th January 2017 / 9:25 pm

    I’m also on a single income and we don’t have any food allergies in our family and struggle with the food shop so I can only imagine how difficult it is for your family. They really don’t make it easy for food allergy sufferers.

    I wish I had some brilliant advice for a way to keep costs down but I have none. Have you tried going to the Free From food festivals? They might have something interesting food recipes or advice for you. A friend of mine, her daughter is lactose intolerant and found the free-from festival a great help in sourcing things she can buy and branching out in terms of buying things to make for her daughter. 🙂 #DreamTeam

  2. Rhyming with Wine 7th January 2017 / 8:21 am

    I can absolutely see where you’re coming from on this. My husband was advised to try a gluten free diet for a couple of months last year. Luckily for us it was only a temporary measure but I was amazed at how much more gluten free products cost! We ended up freezing a loaf of gluten free bread and just taking him out a couple of slices to defrost or toast as needed just to save wasting the bread as a whole loaf for one person doesn’t stay fresh for long. I think it’s great that more gluten free lines are becoming available all the time though and hopefully with this scale up we should start to see costs starts to drop? Thanks for linking with #DreamTeam x

  3. absolutely prabulous 9th January 2017 / 10:07 pm

    Oh gosh guess what? I looked at that weekly cost and thought “blimey look at how much she’s able to buy for that price? Brilliant.” !! Don’t move to Malta. You’d end up going hungry as the food shopping here is exorbitant never mind what they charge for gluten free. But yes, on that subject, it is disgusting what they charge for the health foods. One of my sisters was diagnosed (after two hideous years of suffering when she was only tiny) with coeliac disease in the early 80’s. I can’t describe how shockingly disgusting the quality of the gluten free food was and of course it was so limited. It’s wonderful to see the range and quality come a long way since then but sadly the prices have not followed suit. I hope for your sake something changes soon. #dreamteam

  4. Dairyfreebabyandme 19th January 2017 / 12:18 pm

    Yep! There is no doubt it’s costly! I’ve largely given up buying gf loves just for myself, as they often don’t last long enough, so I eat other stuff instead maybe pasta/potato/cereals etc. & them buy a pack of rolls if we’re having a picnic or something. We look for products that aren’t labelled ‘free from’ but still don’t contain our allergens, these are usually cheaper than ‘free from’ versions. We buy stuff in bulk when it’s on offer and from wholesale where we can (we’re members of Costco, but there are others) – sometimes you can buy in bulk via Amazon (doesn’t always work out cheaper). We also cook a lot from scratch – although that’s not always cheaper, I fear – it depends on what you’re making. It’s not an ideal world, but am mindful of the costs of keeping free from products on the market – Moo Free very nearly went under at one stage, ‘cos Tesco didn’t keep up their payments. As free from products do become more in demand, I’m hoping that just maybe some of the costs will come down. Here’s hoping!

A comment is always appreciated!