Emil, a 45-year old with multiple health issues, says he no longer has a problem putting together a gluten-free diet that is “tasty and even gourmet.” The Boro Park native was particularly encouraged when a new store recently opened on 16th Avenue that is exclusively dedicated to gluten-free products. He also travels to neighboring Flatbush to purchase some of the many upscale gluten-free products, including some of his favorite pastries, at the new Pomegranate supermarket. The number of kosher certified gluten-free products continues to grow. At last year’s Kosherfest, one distributor counted more than 100 products that were gluten-free, a significant increase from the year before. Eden Foods recently introduced two new gluten free gift baskets, which features a small sample from the company’s more than 220 gluten free foods. It includes nine nutritious offerings, from rice and lentils to snacks and condiments, handsomely presented in a sturdy woven wooden slat basket. Eden’s Gluten Free Grain Basket includes five cream of the organic crop Eden whole grains. According to Emil, his physician is “absolutely ecstatic that kosher has moved to a whole new level of concern for healthier products.”In Allentown PA, Kosher Naturals Bakery, led by food aficionado Abe Pinchuck, has released a new line of premium, gluten-free challah muffins to a variety of upscale health food outlets and kosher grocery stores in the metro New York-New Jersey region, Baltimore and Chicago. The muffins, which can be found in the frozen food section, feature four flavors: Original, Blueberry, Toasted Onion and Chocolate Chip. Mr. Pinchuck envisions Kosher Naturals Bakery as a unique food “start-up”, which endeavors to meet the growing needs of health conscious consumers, who are looking for quality and quantity within the gluten-free health and wellness food sector. According to the National Institute of Health, over 3 million Americans suffer from different forms of Celiac Disease (inability to digest glutens found in wheat). Millions more are completely unaware that they suffer from Celiac and other digestive maladies. According to industry statistics, gluten-free food products represent the fastest growing sector within America’s “health and wellness” marketplace. Kosher Naturals Bakery is also on a fast-track to create a variety of gluten-free pareve items as well as poultry (meat) products to both the kosher and mainstream food markets during the coming year. The challah muffins are pareve and are certified kosher by the Star-K of Baltimore.
Kashrus agencies say that the number of applications for gluten-free products has more than tripled in just the last three years, a welcome development for Emil and countless others who “no longer have to cheat,” as the Boro Park resident put it.