Gluten-free products can be expensive. For someone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, that extra cost can be stressful. I know because I WAS highly sensitive to gluten.
Over Twice As Expensive
According to this cost-comparison study, gluten-free products are about 242% more expensive than regular products.
Betty Crocker gluten-free chocolate brownie mix, for example, costs 38˘ per ounce, while regular fudge-brownie mix is only 16˘ per ounce. Gluten-free crackers cost almost five times more than Ritz crackers.
Why Do Gluten Free Products Cost More?
- Every ingredient must be free from contamination — from the field, to the processing, to the packaging plant. Manufacturers have costs to implement the strict guidelines for certifying and labeling GF.
- Gluten free products usually need more ingredients, many of which are more expensive than the standard wheat.
- Consumers want or need gluten-free so much, they are willing to pay for it.
Big Money Can be Made Selling Gluten-Free Products
- $7 billion will be spent by Americans this year on foods labeled gluten-free.
- 55% gluten-free consumers spend 30% or more on their grocery budget for gluten-free foods.
Big Business is cashing in. General Mills for example now offers more than 300 gluten-free lines including Pillsbury dough.
We Pay For These Products Because We Fear Being Deprived
No one wants to have to do without their usual wheat toast, or cereal or cookies or sandwich or pie. Eating wheat three to five times a day is not unusual. However, eating that much wheat is not healthy. A healthy balanced diet consists of a wide range of foods, not one food a number of times a day. Dr. William Davis, author of “Wheat Belly” popularized the idea that the current mass-produced wheat causes problems ranging from arthritis to schizophrenia to weight gain. Through my experience with gluten sensitivity, I have learned that you can eat healthier and save money with a few key changes.
7 Ways to Save Money Being Gluten-Free
1. Stop Buying Packaged Products. Instead, buy gluten-free whole grains. Some of the poorest populations in the world live quite happily on gluten free rice and millet. Try other naturally gluten-free grains like quinoa and buckwheat.
2. Make Your Own Flour Mixtures. The flours I use in my baking are brown rice, potato, chick pea and a little arrowroot. I do not waste my money buying starches, since they are almost like buying sugar (see below). Check out 9 Healthy Gluten-Free Flours.
3. Eat Fresh Whole Foods. All fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, eggs, chicken, fish and meats are gluten-free. Make your diet based on fresh vegetables, nuts, fruit and whole gluten-free grains. (You can listen to me discuss this further in a recent interview.)
4. Buy in bulk.
Buying in bulk may be expensive at first, but you will save money in the long run.
5. Buy online.
Find out if the ingredient you like will be sold to you directly. It’s often much less expensive than buying at the grocery store.
6. Keep your receipts.
Many stores will refund you if you don’t like a product. Safeway has launched a “Gluten Free Eating Right” line with a 100% money back guarantee if you’re not happy with your purchase.
7. File your taxes. Canadians diagnosed with Celiac disease can claim the cost of gluten-free foods as a medical expense. Rules for claiming medical expenses in the United States are varied. To qualify you’ll have to have a blood test and perhaps offer a biopsy as proof that your gut can’t handle gluten.
Most Gluten Free Products Are Unhealthy and Fattening
People are getting fat from eating store bought and homemade gluten-free goodies. Gluten-free foods can be higher in calories than the wheat-based products because they are filled with 30% to 70% starch and lots of sugar. Check out all the other dangers of gluten-free products.
If you are gluten-free:
- Learn about the 11 Gluten Free Grains as alternatives and their many benefits.
- Check out Diana’s Gluten Free Recipes. I have spent years creating healthy gluten-free meals and yummy baked goods without all the starch and sugar. Make sure you are subscribed to the newsletters for the latest recipes.
- Consider doing one of my Healthy Online Courses to learn HOW to cook gluten-free. All of the recipes for the courses are gluten-free.