I think you'll find that what it comes down to -- not that they'd probably admit it -- is being able to pump out more of their nut-free, oat-based muesli bars to cater for the growing demand for nut-free packaged snacks brought about by schools with nut-free policies. It is a whole lot cheaper and easier to procure large amounts of regular oats and not do any of the gluten testing, their profit margins would increase dramatically.
I would imagine they've done a cost-benefit analysis and figured they stand to make a lot more money from expanding their nut-free market share in the cheapest may possible than they would lose by alienating their customers who just want uncontaminated oats. They're in business to make money, not to perform a public service, but it is a shame they can't/won't meet the needs of both markets considering they were the only readily available source of pure oats.
Watch this space, I bet we'll see their range of muesli bars and other oat-based snacks increase without any drop in price. Good for them and for those who don't mind paying more for safe nut-free snacks, but not so good for us oat-lovers!
I'm trying to find a suitable alternative as my health is better when I include pure oats in my diet, but everything is about double the price and that's BEFORE shipping!! I was using them to make my own muesli and protein bars too which saved a lot of money.
A couple of good things I will say about Freedom Foods:
1) They did an excellent job making their new porridge box look as different as possible to the Free Oats box. The visual cue made me double-check the box for more details and enquire further, unlike other brands that just change ingredients without giving any indication of having done so.
2) They were extremely quick in getting back to me when I sent an email enquiry. I hit send and literally had a reply a minute later (someone must have a draft saved). This is a good move on their part considering someone could have been about to eat their product.
UNRELATED NOTE: I discovered San Remo gluten free ravioli in the freezer section of Supabarn today. I haven't noticed them in Coles or Woolworths so I don't know if this is a new product? There were three flavours: spinach and ricotta, beef and chicken. I had the spinach and ricotta for dinner tonight. It had a good texture and taste, held together while cooking and it wasn't gummy like the Pasta al Naturale brand from Coles which I made my gluten-eating husband finish, LOL. It is very high in salt, but I'd buy it again to have as a standby meal. Each pack has two serves, takes 7-8 minutes to cook once your water is boiling and I think cost $8.
For those with other dietary requirements, the spinach and ricotta pack contains milk, soy and sulphites. It may contain traces of egg, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, crustacea and fish.
Friends, today is a sad day. For some of us, anyway. See I am one of those rare creatures who was able to consume Freedom Foods Free Oats, which test under 3ppm for gluten as found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. In other words, I can have "oat gluten" (avenin) so long as it's not cross-contaminated with the other forms of gluten.
I noticed that the packs had changed recently and there was no longer the blurb about production/testing methods. So I contacted them and got this reply:
"As our business has grown, so has the need to reappraise our supply chain requirements.
We need to ensure enough volume to maintain consistency of supply and a 'wheat free' oat is no longer a feasible option for us.
Our Oats are now available in the new packaging labelled Porridge.
This product is no longer "wheat free"."
Time to go raid the supermarkets for any remaining boxes.
Anyone get things from Aldi?
I ended up getting a few. So far tried the cheese tubes and tom yum noodles. The tubes taste similar to the other gluten-free ones you get. The noodles are nice flavour, the texture is a bit odd but I think that it is more just my personal preference.
I also bought some black forest biscuits, Mocha cake mix, Banana cake mix, two bread mixes, lava cake mix and some milk poppers. Ended spending about $28 all up. Wanted to get some Gazpacho as well but they didn't have any.
Wowsa, that's a lot of product for $28! I haven't been since I'm not all that keen for a lot of the stuff they were advertising, but mocha cake mix sounds amazing! I might go check it out just for that, though I imagine there probably isn't much left by now. Thanks for reporting back!