Your free-from forum

Welcome to your Co-op free-from discussion forum.

This is your space to share with us and other members your experiences of living with and catering for your food intolerance. We’d love to hear your thoughts about the present range of Co-op free-from products. Does it meet your needs? If not, what can we improve? Which products do you love? And which ones don’t quite hit the spot?

And we’re quite up for a bit of blue-sky thinking too, so feel free to dream up and share your idea of product range perfection.

Please add your comments below, reply to or ‘like’ other members’ comments and help us land a new free-from range that works better for you and all our members.

Join the conversation! 24 Comments

  1. I recently visited my local coop to find a fantastic display of free from foods, much wider range of produce than I have previously found in store and in an area which specifically caters for people with food intolerance. Very impressed! It would be helpful if labeling was clearer as some foods are free from one or more of the allergens and I have made the mistake a few times picking one or more items up to find they contain milk, I appreciate I could stand reading the labels but shopping in a rush for three children with allergies is not always that easy! Also some child friendly items would be good.

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  2. I do wish that staff wouldn’t squeeze the gluten free bread when filling the shelves and scanning at the check out ! It’s delicate 😜 But the broken bits make good bread crumbs just not sandwiches …

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  3. At first glance the free-from range is impressive but there are a lot of high sugar products. More savoury options would be good, as long as they are not high fat. Buckwheat would be a good addition, also more vegetable soups and stews. There are also many goods that are not part of the free-from range but are free from fat, sugar or gluten. Could the Co-op develop its labelling system for these goods so that shoppers can see at a glance if any of their products is ‘free-from’ e.g. a label on gluten-free soups in other ranges.

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  4. A new local coop has just opened near where I live and both my son and I had a lovely surprise to find a whole module of free from food, really handy when we run out of stuff at home or are in desperate need of choccie biscuits 😋 Keep up the good work and looking forward to the new products

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  5. Ambient free from is generally really good, but the fresh side could do with a bit of work! Stiff competition from other retailers, like Sainsbury’s, who have a fantastic selection of fresh G/F pizzas and pastas, as well as snacking food.

    The food to go range is also a bit of a let down- getting lunch in the Angel Square co-op is a bit of an ordeal, given there’s only one GF wrap and it’s only in stock every other week! A lot of catching up to do with M&S etc who have a variety of wraps and sandwiches on offer.

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    • Hi Jamie – Mark here from the Member Voice team – if we were to introduce more in the fresh range what would you suggest would be a priority?

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  6. For me as a diabetic it would be good to have a section in store which is low or sugar free similar to the ones you find for gluten free products.

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  7. Today I went looking for GF Xmas pudding and mince pies at your Oakham superstore and was disappointed to find that the only product available was iced fruit slices. I’m fairly sure I’ve seen these products in Coop branches in previous years.

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    • Hi Pene, if you get in touch with us on Twitter or Facebook we can pass you into the Food Customer Relations team, who can local the Free From products in Co-op’s near you. ^Jordan

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  8. Hi, more vegan options would be great! All supermarkets have started competing on this with dairy free cheese. Would also be great to use alternatives to milk and eggs in some of your products. Much bigger target market and plenty of alternatives that don’t make a taste change!

    Thanks!

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  9. Fresh/Frozen Free From items are lacking in my Co-op; what about Coconut yoghurts, goats cheese, coconut ice-cream, frozen gluten free pastry, frozen gluten free fish fingers, stuffing mixes, more cereals to choose from. The range is getting better but as another person commented, so much sweet food and I would like to see more savoury. It would be good to see more gluten free ingredients for sale, such as different flours as we all know its so much easier to cook from scratch so we know what is exactly in our food!

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  10. The range of GF products available in the local Coops in Cambridge is commendable. Keep this up.
    Agree with comment that some GF products have too high sugar levels – can you pass this comment to your suppliers, please?

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  11. Hi all, my initial thoughts are:
    1. Co-op Free From range is not bad, but agree with another poster that others – Tesco, Sainsburys and M&S – are doing better. But, full marks to Co-op for seeking our feedback.
    2. For me (gluten intolerant), I’m looking for the best and most ‘normal’ food possible, without gluten, rather than food which is also dairy free or necessarily ‘healthy’ – snack bars etc. (Appreciate though that some people have more than one allergy / intolerance).
    3. Agree with others that more chilled / frozen savoury products would be good, sausage rolls, pies, chicken nuggets. Also, Chinese and Indian snacks – the original recipes for these would often use flours which are GF, e.g. gram, chick pea, tapioca, so would be fine but in the mass market the default seems to be wheat flour.
    4. Also agree that some GF products are way too sugary, especially granola and other cereals.
    5. Why not avoid gluten more in the regular range of ready meals and other products where it is not necessary. I understand that a regular spag bol etc will contain gluten, but a regular sausage casserole or cottage pie doesn’t need to, but often does. A big up front label saying “Gluten Free” would be helpful to avoid having to read the small print ingredients on every product.
    6. “Gluten Free” on a label should mean no gluten in the product, even though this is not the law, re supposedly GF beers which contain gluten (<20ppm). I would love to see some zero gluten beers in store.
    7. Keep investing in research and product development for GF breads and pastries. Overall, they are getting better.

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  12. As a Coeliac, I find the majority of GF products are way too sweet. The bread is also exceptionally dry & crumbly….the main reason I rarely eat bread at all now. It’s also a bit of a cheat that products that are naturally GF (ie.g. tomato sauce) can be as cheap as 99p, but, as soon as it’s labelled ‘Gluten Free’, it becomes 3 times more expensive!

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  13. I agree with a lot of other people that more fresh and savoury items would be ideal. I think one of the most difficult things when you are gluten free or dairy free is getting something to eat on the hop. My local is archway and it’s the best of a poor bunch as all the chain shops (Tesco/Sainsbury’s) there are smaller so not an extensive range. There are definitely some good things that coop do (sausages!) but there’s room for lots of improvement. It would also be helpful if all the dry, fresh and frozen free from range were in one location rather than going around the store trying to find stuff- they do this in the new Morrisons in Colindale and it’s v helpful!

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  14. Removing eggs and milk from a lot of your free-from products would also be great and target a greater audience 🙂 Definitely liking your expanding vegan range. Morrisions and Tesco are doing the same, so quite competitive but worth it if you can bring people to you for their products and big shops. I get 10% off for NUS so if there were more options I would go a lot more frequently 🙂 Thanks guy.

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  15. My grandson has several intolerance and nut allergy. Are any of your products made in a nut free factory?

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  16. There is absolutely no frozen/fresh gluten free range in my local coop. I have just visited looking for something savoury and apart from gluten free bread it is all junk food. In the whole aisle of frozen all I could eat is vegetables some cheap mash and a GF vegetable lasagne. I am not vegetarian aswell as coeliac! There is a big GF range of sugar snacks though massively overpriced and high in sugar and fat. I would love to see more frozen/fresh items naturally gluten free

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  17. Since filling in the free from survey, our local co-op has now removed the ready made gluten free pizza from the freezer. Staff say they are not expecting any more in. So thanks for listening Co-op.

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