M&S Gluten-free Event.
Last night my family of 5 attended a gluten-free event hosted at the M&S store at Cheshire Oaks. These gluten-free events are currently running across over 70 stores around the country and is something we have never experienced with other mainstream retailers. Big thumbs up M&S. You can find your nearest M&S event here.
It was brilliant to take my 7 year old coeliac to an event without having to swerve all the yummy food and be able to sit back and enjoy all the tasters together as a family. Even from that one event it is clear to see that M&S are focused on engaging with the gluten-free community as they seek to enrich and increase their free-from products. This is especially true for ready meals / food on the go – something that is taken for granted for those not having to adhere to a strict daily diet.
M&S, in my opinion keep getting it right in terms of developing their free-from range and are streets ahead in listening to their core customers and the wider community. You don’t have to be shopping in the gluten-free section to realise that many other products are made gluten-free – these are distinguished by the orange gluten-free logo. It is also heartwarming to see that these don’t have an inflated price tag just because they are gluten-free.
The Piri-Piri wraps were enjoyed by all of our family, even the 4 year old and it would give a non gluten-free wrap a run for it’s money as the texture was spot on and not like chewing on leather.
The sandwich range has expanded too which is good news for us as my 7 year old has never been keen on the limited, (if available) offerings previously tried, so he was happy with the chance to try the prawn sandwich on multi-seeded bread.
All eyes lit up when we sampled the vanilla sponge celebration cake and Christmas cake. I would challenge anyone to know that they were also gluten-free. Roll on Christmas! I am also really pleased to see the gluten-free Christmas platter is back on the menu, which is something we bought several years ago. This time it includes 12 sticky Asian-style chicken lollipops, 12 mini chicken Kievs, 18 British pork belly squares, 12 mini toad-in-the-hole with caramelised onion chutney, and 10 sticky chicken yakitori kebabs and retails at £30.
And so the evening came to a close, we came away feeling more excited about where the M&S gluten-free market is heading. I would also like to see more of a mixture of dairy and gluten-free products and as noted by my little coeliac, a range of gluten-free pizzas, fingers crossed this happens. The icing on the cake would be the development of an online delivery service which appears to have been discussed in The Guardian and you can read more about that here.
All views in this post are my own.