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A Trip Through Time – Gluten-Free Over The Years

A Trip Through Time – Gluten-Free Over The Years

They say knowledge is power, and if you're dodging gluten it’s time to get educated! As the detection of gluten-free sensitivity has become so much better in recent years too, we see our ranks expanding past just coeliacs, shaking up the food industry like a gluten-free maracas! 🎶
Whether you're dodging gluten for health reasons, battling coeliac disease, or simply a fancy a “healthier diet”, the demand for gluten-free grub has led to remarkable advancements in the availability, taste, and variety of gluten-free products. In this blog, we'll take a trip through time to explore how gluten-free food has evolved over the years. Cue ‘wibbly wobbly hand-wavey’ time-travel effects… 🔮

Let’s Start At The Very Beginning …it’s a very good place to start 🎵
Back in the 1940s the wheat-free diet was introduced as a medical treatment for coeliacs. Did it skyrocket from there? Hell no! We’d love to say it came on leaps and bounds in the next few decades but as we all know this is not the case! Even up to the early 2000’s, individuals with gluten sensitivities or coeliac disease were unlikely to have much fun in terms of food, essentially stuck in a flavourless food desert.
There were very few gluten-free options to choose from and gluten-free diets were often labelled as 'being fake' and ‘difficult’, therefore products were often bland, dry, and tasted nothing like their gluten-full versions. Rice cakes, corn-based bread and gritty rice flour baked goods were the norm, we’ve all had that experience of eating a badly made gluten-free biscuit and feeling like we were chewing on cardboard!
Why the lack of variety? A major reason was the lack of awareness and understanding of gluten-related disorders. Coeliac disease, for instance, was widely underdiagnosed and many people suffered in silence without realising the cause of their health issues. Consequently, the market for gluten-free foods was small and manufacturers didn't invest much in research and development, hence you were more like to feel you were eating cardboard than something truly tempting ☹️.
The Gluten-Free Tide Turns Yay!🌊
As awareness of coeliac disease and gluten sensitivities grew, so did the demand for better gluten-free options. In the early 2000’s medical professionals became better at diagnosing these conditions and more people started eliminating gluten from their diets. Finally, those of us seeking a gluten-free option started seeing well-researched and truly dream-worthy meals and products on the market! We welcomed a whole new raft of folk on our gluten-free journey, from those just discovering they are intolerant to those wanting to change their diet and feel less heavy and sluggish. We were looking at a gluten-free revolution!
The real game-changer? The improvement in taste and texture. Manufacturers ditched the bland and began experimenting with various gluten-free flours, such as almond flour, coconut flour and xanthan gum, to mimic the texture of gluten-containing products. These innovations resulted in gluten-free bread that could be toasted without falling apart, gluten-free pasta that doesn’t turn to mush and gluten-free desserts which actually tasted good. And no more chewing on bland cardboard! 😁
To keep coeliacs safe, certifying bodies like Coeliac UK introduced certified gluten-free labels ensuring our gluten-free goodies meet the strictest standards. Safe snacks? Check!
Right Here, Right Now…
Today, the gluten-free uprising is in full swing, and guess what? Thankfully gluten-free products have become mainstream and you can find them in nearly every supermarket. Prices have reduced and range is increased, and we’re finally able to relax and make some easy decisions on what to devour are finally within our grasp!
Restaurants aren't lagging either. They’ve made huge steps in dishing out gluten-free dinners. Many now offer gluten-free menus, and chefs are trained to prepare meals safely. Still be wary, as cross-contamination is always going to be a concern for coeliacs, but there’s no denying that we're lightyears ahead of where we were in the crusty days of the 2000s.
Here’s To A Deliciously Gluten-Free Future! 🔮
The research cavalry is charging in! Tastier recipes with improved textures and many more options available. As our ranks expand and the demand grows, brace yourselves for a transparency revolution in food labelling; we're seizing control over what goes into our mouths.
So whether you’re a seasoned coeliac, ecstatic about finally being able to get a decent roast dinner, or a newbie joining the ranks of this crusade and are looking forward to trying all the best gluten-free and wheat-free options for diets these days, let’s all be glad we’re living in the heyday of gluten-free and get out there to try some awesome treats! 😋
The Baked Crew. 🥣
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