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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

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Cara in Boston

Stop And Shop Shelf Labels - New And Nice

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Just got back from the grocery store (Stop & Shop) and today they had tags hanging under lots of regular products that said "Gluten Free" in big, clear letters. It was not in the health food aisle, where the gluten-free "special" food is, but in the regular aisles to help with things like mayonnaise, salad dressing, salsas, chips, cereal, etc. It was really nice. Not sure how they determined which products to flag, as some salsas I know are gluten-free did not have the sign, but it is a step forward.

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They do that at Fry's and Safeway too. Problem is they have so many signs saying different things that the gluten-free gets lost in the shuffle.

And then, I see it on stuff I'm really unsure about and I hesitate to use it.

And, it isn't on stuff I know is gluten-free.

But they did put it on plastic containers of spinach in the produce section. Go figure.

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I have a corporate retail background and we charged vendors for everything! (They pay out the wazoo to be in a flyer and even more for the front or back page) I have a feeling that the food manufacturer has to pay extra for those labels to go there. They are wanting to target the gluten free customer. It isn't on some items but it is on others leading me to believe that they pay extra for the "gluten free" label under their item. But yes...I like it.

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I've noticed it seems to be different at every store. At Harmon's, they have a 2 aisle section for "health food" which includes a freezer on one side of an aisle and has all sorts of stuff that's "natural" or "organic" and some that's gluten free. They also label things on the shelves throughout the store. At Smith's they don't have a separate section but do have one three foot section of every aisle for "specialty" items. This includes all the same things, natural and organic and gluten free.

I've noticed though that at both of these stores if I shop the separate section things cost significantly more. Instead of $2 for a bottle of LaChoy soy sauce I'll pay $8 for a bottle that's specially labeled gluten free. Instead of a bag of chips that's $3 I'll pay twice as much because the bag has a big gluten free stamp on the front of it. It's ridiculous! I much prefer reading labels (which I do anyway, even if it says it's gluten free) and buying stuff for half the cost or less by shopping the regular aisles of the store. I do though love the little labels on the shelves as they can point me to something I may not have otherwise considered or have been having trouble finding.

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Whole Foods does this as well and I believe it is only foods labeled "gluten-free" on the package. They also have a dedicated gluten-free section, which annoys me as some things are in 2 places and some are just in the gluten-free area (like gluten-free oats).

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