Fats, sugars, and salt. 12 popular cookies with and without gluten compared

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From rusks to krumiri. Every baked product is now offered in a ‘gluten-free’ version alongside the traditional one. The appearance is almost identical, the content variously different. Research and development has focused on the possibility of replicating, in ‘gluten free‘, the organoleptic properties (taste, appearance, texture) of the original product. At the expense, however, of the nutritional profiles of foods in many cases. Where fat and salt-whose excessive intake causes obesity andNon-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)-tend to abound. The prices, then, are completely out of scale. Market survey of 12 consumer products.

Gluten free, exorbitant prices

The comparison is carried out on 6 types of bakery products – in both versions, conventional and gluten-free – sampled on retail shelves in September 2019

– rusks and plum cakes, Coop,

– Saiwa Gold, Mondelez,

– krumiri, Bistefani and Solo Mais,

– ladyfingers, Vincenzovo and Schär,

madeleine, St Michel and Céréal.

The price of gluten-free products is always higher, extraordinarily higher, than that of similar products with gluten. An unjustified difference, compared with ingredients of similar when not less value. With extensive use of, among other things, food additives.

Compared with conventional, gluten-free baked goods cost

– the quadruple, the rusks and the ladyfingers,

over three times as many, Oro Saiwa cookies,

almost twice as many plum cakes and madeleines.

Gluten-free but with more fat

The amount of fat-and saturated fat-in gluten-free cookies is generally much higher than in similar conventional products. With peaks reaching +411% saturated fat (Saiwa Gold) and +67% total fat (rusk).

Schär ladyfingers, moreover, are appreciable. Because the higher fat (+84% total fat, +150% saturated), compared to Vincenzovo’s classic savoiardo – corresponds to a higher amount of the eggs included in the recipe, 38% vs. 26%.

Instead, the case of krumiri is an exception that confirms the rule. Bistefani-branded cookies with wheat contain far more fat (+54%) and saturated fat (+15%) than their gluten-free ‘cousins’. For one simple reason, krumiri falsely presented as‘prepared according to the original Casale Monferrato recipe‘ are actually made with the worst of fats, palm oil to which our Buycott campaign is dedicated !

Gluten free, sugar and salt

Sugars-in the products considered in this market analysis-are generally lower in gluten-free products. With the exception of Oro Saiwa cookies, which contain 10% more in the gluten-free version.

Instead, salt abounds dramatically. With increase, recorded on all ‘gluten-free’ analyzed, ranging from 21% to 233%. It almost seems to be a dominant feature of ‘special’ products, as also seen on foods for vegans.

The attached table shows prices and nutritional values of the 12 products compared.

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Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".