Gluten Free Guerrillas
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Come and watch me shop!

I had a quick chat with a manager at Tesco today when I couldn't find something (as I have done before at various other supermarkets). She said that they were trying to be responsive to 'our' needs, if we let them know.

An idea popped into my head that I could write and ask them to accompany me on a shopping trip, and I could point out things I couldn't find, etc.

Would anyone else be up for joining in on this at their local supermarket? Maybe if we all speak up someone will listen!!

16 Replies

So this is a marketing ploy? As someone who can't stand shopping I hate it when shops move the isles around, but it saves me a fortune! I really can't think of anything worse than spending additional time solving the puzzle, so I just grab the fresh stuff and go - quids in!


I have the same problem Sassyl. Our local supermarket has plenty of promotions but empty shelves. They will go and look, if asked, but this adds time to a busy shop. I think the only thing is to keep banging on. I know its wearing but I think it does have an impact. Also writing to head office highlights the issue. I think your accompanied trip is a good idea; it would be interesting to see if they agreed or not. I dismantled a whole shelf full of out of date gf foods a couple of visits ago. I was so fed up with this. In another store the fixture was clearly not cared for, it was a mess. I asked to see the manager and got him to stand there whilst I talked through the message that this messy area was sending out to his valuable Coeliac customers. I have to say that it appears to have someone in charge now as it's well stocked and tidy. I sometimes find out of date goods but then that's the same across all the supermarkets I visit.

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Go Irene! It does make a difference, doesn't it.

Tony, rather than things moving around, I meant things just weren't there! Rather than going with more in my trolley, I went with a lot less!

Yesterday I wanted to get a ready made pizza - they only had room for about 30 or so Gluten Pizzas and not one GF variety. Also, in my Tesco they mix the GF in with the normal foods, so the one frozen pie is in the pie section. I know Tesco do fishfingers, I found them once, but they are hard to find amongst all the gluten food so now I don't really bother, I just go to Sainsbury where it's all laid out in a cabinet.

Also, wanted Tesco rolls between prescriptions - none there/ sold out. Also, wanted LactoFree or Alpro Soya Cream - they did not stock this. I wanted some Naan bread and a ready-curry - found the curry but no naan. Finally, wanted Instant Gravy granules - they did not stock this.

Without the soya cream, I couldn't make carbonara so I didn't bother buying bacon, peas or red pepper either. And I put the curry back.

I pointed out to the manager I spoke to that this is why I was not shop loyal, and that I would do a smaller shop today then in the week I would split my £70 weekly shop between supermarkets (admittedly, where other things off my list are missing).

I would just like to point out to the supermarkets that it is almost impossible to think up a week's menu then go and buy it in one shop. There is so much more they could do to help coeliacs with their shop, and as a growing market (I will make this point on my shopping trip!!) it is worth them making very small, almost incidental alterations that make massive changes to us.


I think that is a great idea.

I like to keep the fish fingers for when the grandchildren visit (I keep a gf house) and found them a couple of years ago, then once again three months ago, and not since then...where are they?

I too leave the shop with nothing if I can't find the thing I went in for as I aim to get what I need first so as not to forget it, so until that is in the trolley nothing else goes in.


Hi Lois - i can help with gf fish fingers - made by Youngs and stocked by Ocado (presumably waitrose too if you have one?)

I have taken to online shopping for gf meat/fish dairy and baked products, ocado (presumably others too) have handy gf filter so makes them much easier to find. The flour, veg, fruit etc i am lucky to be able to get at a local independant grocers.


I have the same trouble, had an e-mail from Genius saying what they were now selling in supermarkets i:e tesco when i went to look there was nothing at all,all they had were fish fingers. I live in Exeter Devon


Can anynone tell me if Tesco's sell DS rolls now, as during a recent shop there, I was given a money off voucher at the till, but then informed at Customer Service they did not stock them, seems weird to me to be given a voucher which I could not use.


Denise/Hollyberry - it very much depends on the size of the store and the locale. For instance we recently discovered the new Sainsbury's Local as Newcastle Station has a free from stand. They do the full range of their gf sandwiches which makes complete sense for them and the gf traveller. But other branches have to decide what they think will bring in the money. Have you asked whether they would consider stocking these products?


I can get Genius in Barnstaple Denise... Tesco and Sainsbury stock it. It did have a spell in the normal bread section a while back though. Will swap for fishfingers!!!

Holly, our Tesco does stock DS Ciabatta rolls too. I've tried Customer Services in lots of supermarkets before, but have only ever had response from Waitrose, who instantly started restocking GF cereals.

I'm sure if our issues are raised with enough Store Managers who then tell Area Managers we can improve our lot.


Interesting idea. A bit like having a personal shopper when you want to find the right outfit. My experience of large retailers is that much of what is stocked is manufacturer/supplier led. Despite retailers large in house teams of ideas people- much of the innovation comes from outside. And large manufacturers are looking for ways to get more product on the shelves, to increase their profits.not necessarily focused on what consumers want (strangely enough). Personally I would like to see more manufacturers cutting the gluten out of products and making them accessible to both traditional customers and coeliacs. I find the free from aisles, quite depressing- with an assortment of products which are expensive and for the most part, substandard in taste. There are exceptions of course, with some top notch products, but these are often the first to be removed from the free from aisles when sales do not stack up. I'm sorry to say, that it's all about profit.


They are depressing arent they? With faded photographs really cheap looking on the boxes, expensive prices, and what do you do when you look at the sugar content which is huge just because its a free from? It kind of feels like you are a somewhat lesser shopper except when it comes to the price!


I'm with you Adriana. Whilst accepting there needs to be specific gluten free bread products I would like to see a move aware from 'free from' rubbish to more mainstream foods being adapted, like M&S have done. Removing unnecessary flour and replacing with cornflour or similar. Using gluten free rusk instead of breadcrumb. Then a discreet gluten free sticker and no-one is the wiser (apart from the Coeliac).

I hate the look of the gf products. The colour and design of the gluten free packaging must be chosen by a panel of colour blind individuals who don't believe in fussy things like 'appealing design'. Its bringing in the £££ and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. The result seems to be a partly successful attempt to make some of the gf foods more palatable but with no regard to daily levels of fat, salt, sugar etc.

If you were an ethical shopper before diagnosis there doesn't seem much hope of that continuing. They sprinkle palm oil over everything and there's no mention of where that's sourced.

Oops. Stepping off my soap box now. Off for a cup of organic, herbal tea ;-)


Its great to see someone feels like I do. You are spot on with everything here! Enjoy your tea :-)


If I didn't know better I would think that was me ranting here! Bravo! :)


I wish the supermarkets would all either put the Genius bread in the bread aisle, or in the free from section. Its such a pain to go around and around, and sometimes they just have none left! grr...


It's interesting that in other countries gluten free foods are dispersed throughout the store and not confined to one section in the supermarket. I like this approach as it is helpful to pick up my gluten free pasta, with my non gluten free pasta etc etc etc. I think it sends out a message that gluten free shoppers are the same as regular shoppers. Also, it does allow you to compare things like prices.


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