According to Health Canada, Celiac Disease affects every 1 in 100-200 people in North America, and many more experience gluten sensitivity or intolerance. In the last few years, gluten free foods have experienced major growth in the health foods industry, with new companies sprouting up all the time to meet the demand. Kinnikinnick Foods is one company that has pioneered the gluten-free foods movement, and it started just a few hours north of us in Edmonton.
Ted Wolf van Selzam was a traditional baker finding a growing number of customers at his Farmers’ Market booth requesting gluten-free baked goods. As the story goes, Ted proceeded to make some of the worst gluten-free products ever made (which is saying a lot), but he persevered. Through lots of trial and error and feedback from customers, Ted started Kinnikinnick Foods in 1991. Regular customers Lynn and Jerry Bigam invested in the company in 1997 and now own it.
Now, Kinnikinnick Foods has the largest dedicated gluten-free facilities (one is 120 000 square feet and the other is 30 000) in North America, and distributes across the continent as well as 9 other countries around the world.
One of the main reasons for Kinnikinnick’s dedicated customer base is the company’s intense commitment to food safety. All products are lab-tested down to the ingredient level for gluten contamination. Testing well beyond the level required by the Canadian government to claim a product is gluten-free is what gives customers confidence in the safety of Kinnikinnick’s products. In addition to that, the fact that the company is owned by people that have Celiac disease and understand the challenges of finding the right foods to eat and the risk of getting sick helps many people feel assured that Kinnikinnick puts food safety first.
One of Kinnikinnick’s original goals was to create great tasting gluten-free products available to people across North America. That goal has been enhanced by a strong commitment to ingredient and nutritional profile. With that in mind, Kinnikinnick is transitioning all ingredients to be non-GMO over the next 12-18 months. Beyond gluten-free, all of Kinnikinnick’s products are nut-free, dairy-free, peanut-free and certified kosher. Many foods are also egg and soy free.
Over the course of the last 4-5 years Kinnikinnick has been focusing product development around improvements in textures and palatability. The company believes strongly that gluten-free food does not have to be bland and tasteless. Kinnikinnick finds success in working with brown and white rice, tapioca and potato flours as the base and adding things like quinoa, teff and flax for flavor, texture and nutritional quality.
Community Natural Foods carries a broad variety of Kinnikinnick’s line. Come to your nearest CNF to experience good quality, tasty and safe gluten-free breads, buns, cookies, and baking mixes.
by Lauren Mangion, Concious Home