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Don't Forget to Brand Yourself As Gluten-Free!
By: Sarah Jane Dunaway
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One by one, industries [not just brands] are jumping onboard the gluten-free (GF) wagon. Lifestyle bloggers offer the latest gluten-free recipes in hopes of capturing the rapidly growing population of fad-diet females and males. While gluten-intolerance and Celiac Disease, an autoimmune condition, are real health concerns (I too am a sufferer) I gawk ever-so-slightly at the rising population of those going gluten-free by choice.

The popularity of going gluten-free has led to the convenience of grocery shopping with well-labeled aisles featuring GF products (i.e. products not containing wheat, rye, or barley ingredients). Restaurants, both locally owned and chain-operations such as P.F. Chang’s, offer menus specifically tailored to those gluten-free whether by choice or torture. More importantly, many menus and product labels highlight products or recipes that naturally do not include gluten.

Much like the latest trend in marketing products that are High Fructose Corn Syrup free (a trend I am loving right now), a product or recipe naturally free of this ingredient benefits just as much as one manufactured or created to be gluten-free (or corn-syrup free).

Quite often I seek out restaurants and products that make gluten-free selecting simple. Whole Foods, for instance, labels GF products in their aisles with green tags so shoppers can quickly and reliably select GF items with ease. The green labels even go so far as to point out brands of soaps and other bath products that are GF.

Brands are so desperate sometimes to be a part of the vegan or gluten-free or carb-free trend that they’ll throw themselves into the ring without researching or perhaps with over-researching the benefit. Granted, some sources do claim that those with Celiac Disease or an allergy to gluten might benefit from gluten-free soaps and bath products, but unless the product is going to be ingested, there’s no need to seek out such products.

The obsession with consumers and brands alike to advertise being gluten-free has become a such a trend that as a fellow gluten-free shopper, I find myself mocking the ridiculousness of GF-advertised products such as shoes, fruit (i.e. Gluten-Free Bananas), and chapstick. At some point common sense should take a stand amongst brands advertising as gluten-free. Let’s face it; if you’re a sufferer you’ve probably done your research and already know that bananas are gluten-free.

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About the Author

Sarah Jane Dunaway is a brand strategist and design consultant, and the writer and creator behind the blog Clean & Proper. A former member of the paper and printing industry, Sarah Jane specializes in helping businesses of all sizes streamline marketing communications by creating compelling brand identity systems and corporate identity packages. Find her online here

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