Massachusetts-based soup manufacturer Kettle Cuisine is dipping its spoon into the growing Canadian gluten free market and mixing things up with the introduction of five, strictly gluten free, frozen soup varieties. These hand-prepared soups, will not only appeal to consumers with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, but to any consumer who is striving to find a high-quality, convenient and all natural soup.
Products for consumers with food intolerances recorded current retail value growth of 4% in 2009, with sales reaching C$157 million. The fact that a growing number of Canadians are suffering from food intolerances is fuelling demand in this area. Gluten free food (compared against lactose-free and diabetic food products) led growth during 2009, with current retail value sales increasing by 9% to reach C$24 million. Gluten free foods will continue to lead growth over a five-year forecast period, with constant retail value sales expected to increase at an annual average rate of 11% to reach C$42 million by 2014.
The growing movement to a gluten free diet is largely due to increasing awareness of celiac disease, an auto immune disease that damages the small intestine when gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and some varieties of oats are consumed. Celiac disease is now recognized as one of the most common and under-diagnosed chronic diseases in the world. In fact, rates of celiac disease have nearly doubled in the last 25 years in western countries. Nearly one per cent of Canada’s population is affected by celiac disease, which is more than 330,000 Canadians.
Currently, the only treatment for celiac disease is adherence to a strict gluten free diet. Many find this diet complex, expensive and difficult to follow, given the heavy reliance on wheat and wheat-based products in the food supply. A recent national survey revealed that 54 per cent of Canadians with celiac disease admitted to wanting more gluten free foods in supermarkets. Unfortunately, a staggering 83 per cent of those surveyed reported having difficulty finding gluten free foods, especially gluten free foods of good quality (85 per cent).
In soup, gluten is found in most pastas and noodles, however, gluten is also often found in the form of wheat flour roux’s which are used to thicken soups. Gluten also hides in many processed ingredients, so by using only top quality raw ingredients including naturally raised chicken and beef Kettle Cuisine has greater control over product integrity and safety. In addition, each batch is cooked under gluten free conditions and is certified gluten free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) to ensure that the product is gluten free. Given the company’s commitment to producing a premium quality, great tasting product, Kettle Cuisine soups will be a welcome addition to every Canadian grocer and household freezer.
Jerry Shafir, Kettle Cuisine’s president and founder, first became aware of the gluten free diet 20 years ago, after his daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease. This line of soups was inspired by a strong desire to deliver great tasting, real prepared food options to the gluten free community. The intent was to include a number of varieties that are difficult to make gluten free so that the soups could be enjoyed by everyone.
The soups – Angus Beef Steak Chili with Beans, Chicken Soup with Rice Noodles,New EnglandClam Chowder, Three Bean Chili and Tomato Soup with Garden Vegetables – can be heated on a stovetop or microwaved for added convenience. The average retail price per unit is $4.99. The soups are served in 10oz recyclable bowls and are typically merchandised in the natural frozen food section of stores.
Look for Kettle Cuisine at Nature’s Fare, Choices, Extra Foods and Superstore.
 Euromonitor – Health and Wellness inCanada – May 2010
 Celiac Disease – The Gluten Connection. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/pubs/securit/gluten_conn-lien_gluten-eng.php
 Canadian Digestive Health Foundation http://www.cdhf.ca/digestive-disorders/statistics.shtml
 A Cranney, M Zarkadas, I Graham, et al., “The Canadian Celiac Health Survey.” Dig Dis Sci. 2007;52:1087-1095. www.cdhf.ca/digestive-disorders/statistics.shtml http://www.celiac.ca/pdfs/Canadian%20Celiac%20Health%20Survey%20published%20in%20Dig%20Dis%20Sci%20Apr%202007.pdf
 M Zarkadas, A Cranney, S Case et al., “The Impact of a Gluten-Free Diet on Adults with Celiac Disease: Results of a National Survey.” J Hum Nutr Dietet. 2006; 19:41-49.