We’ve always been pleased that the one product that Coeliacs can easily get their hands on when on the go is usually crisps.
Unfortunately with the change last year which lowered the gluten free classification in Europe to 20ppm (from 200ppm before) we found that we had less choice in crisps than ever before. Many crisp manufacturers that had sold their products as ‘Suitable For Coeliacs’ before the change in EU legislation seemed to have a change of mind and instead of paying for testing to ensure their products meet the new levels for ‘gluten free’ they simply took the simpler route of re-labelling their products to say ‘No Gluten Containing Ingredients’ (AKA NGCI). As we’ve discussed many times before NGCI does NOT mean that food is gluten free. Instead it simply means that gluten free food is produced in the same area as gluten foods and that cross contamination may occur. The FSA website makes this very clear and when we called them to discuss the removal of ‘Suitable for Coeliacs’ from a lot of GF foods, they explained that NGCI was really meant to be used for catering establishments so it gave Coeliacs dining out more security when choosing from a menu.
For example when we checked directly with various food manufacturers in most cases they implied that nothing had changed in their product but as they produced gluten containing products as well they didn’t wish to label their products ‘gluten free’. It seemed there was a lot of confusion and fear amongst manufacturers as to what and when they could label something gluten free.
This riled us. After all reading labels is confusing enough as a Coeliac and the ‘grey’ area of is or isn’t it really gluten free seemed bonkers to us. So this problem spurred us onto seeking out the manufacturers that were made of sterner stuff, who were prepared to ensure their products were truly gluten free and less than 20ppm under the new law!
One of these was Darling Spuds who we’ve always had a soft spot for. Their quirky packet design featuring potato figures on the front of their crisp packets always brought a smile to our faces. We’ve lost count of how many packs we carried in our rucksacks over the years for those tough moments when you realise that you can’t locate any gluten free eats like on train journeys and long car trips.
What’s not to like about Darling Spuds? Their crisps are hand cooked , gluten free, vegetarian friendly, and completely free of any unsavoury GMO’s.
[See the visible Gluten Free label? Yay.]
Not to mention 20% lower in fat than standard crisps. Plus they have that all important crunch and delicious taste. Whereas other brands can be too oily, too salty or just not cut the mustard on crunch factor we’ve been impressed with the consistency offered by Darling Spuds.
We were hoping to track them down at the Allergy & Free From Show in London last weekend but they didn’t have a stand. In fact we couldn’t find any GF crisp stands there at all..but we digress we’ll review the Allergy Show in another blog post.
Darling Spuds must have heard we were big fans as they recently invited us to try out their new flavour additions. Here they are…
We were delighted to receive a box from Darling Spuds packed with their latest range of crisps. Of course we immediately set time aside with some wine, gluten free dips and a good film to put them to the test.
Guerrillas, you’ll be pleased to know that there are no ‘wacky’ flavour combos in their range, instead they just had tempting flavours like Sour Cream and Mexican Chilli. Our tribe got to testing the full variety of flavours. There was a mixed response as some loved the spicy flavours and some preferred the subtle ones.
Our Top 6 hit list from their flavours is as follows:
1 Crushed Natural Sea Salt – delicious with just the right amount of salt. Great as they don’t leave you gasping for a drink unlike other brands.
2 Sour Cream with a hint of Mexican Chilli - these were lovely; sour cream is always on our list of fave crisp flavours but the addition of chilli gives some welcome warmth. Perfect on it’s own or with your favourite dips. This one was an all rounder fave amongst the team.
3. West Country Cheddar, Leek and Pink Peppercorns – these were a posh version of ‘cheese and onion’. Really good, one pack wasn’t enough.
4. Sun Ripened Tomato, Green Olive and Oregano – these crisps contained 3 of our fave ingredients and they blended well together with the crunch of the crisp. Although often mid way through a few of us thought that the Oregano was overpowering. However, some the team loved these more than number 3. So it’s really personal preference.
5. Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar – we loved these with some cheese on the side. A lovely combo – although if you’re not a fan of Balsamic Vinegar avoid as you really can taste it!
6. Fire Roasted Jalapeno Peppers – Phew, if you love Jalapeno peppers then we think you’ll like these crisps. We had a competition to see who could eat the most! Sour cream dip optional – but we needed it!
So if you love your crisps, and want to be sure they are gluten free seek out a pack of Darling Spuds. If you have any problems getting your hands on some then follow the link on the Darling Spuds web page for here for online purchases.
And don’t forget Guerrillas there are plenty of brands that are making an effort to ensure their products are gluten free. So why settle for a pack labelled ‘Made on a line with Wheat’ or ‘No Gluten Containing Ingredients’ when you can support the good guys who are paying for extra testing and putting measures in place to avoid cross contamination?
Vote with your wallets and support the brands like Darling Spuds & others who are making a real effort to cater to Coeliacs. After all if we all did this imagine how quickly the likes of Walkers and other brands would follow suit? Imagine the choice there would be. There’s big business to be had from Coeliac shoppers, don’t you forget it!