The custom bakery mix manufacturer and flavor house has been working on its gluten-free range for about three years. The first line to be released is the dessert line, then bread.
“We’re taking a different angle than everyone else in the market,” said Embassy owner and founder Martino Brambilla. “We’re focused on making products that are as healthy as a regular item and tastes good.”
The desserts are already available in Canada, and the bread will be available soon. The launch into the US will happen in 2014, he said, and this is mostly related to the lead time required for clients to launch the products from approval to market.
“One of the biggest challenges we have is the manufacturers: Finding gluten-free bakeries that can handle the demand of the big retailers,” said Brambilla.
One such mega-bakery is due to come on line in early 2014: Canada’s Fancy Pokket Corp. is investing $13 million in the largest gluten-free bakery in North America in South Carolina. Brambilla confirmed that Embassy is working with Fancy Pokket.
Recent research from The NPD Group found that almost a third (30%) of American adults say they are trying to reduce or exclude gluten from their diets.
An August 2012 Packaged Facts consumer survey asked consumers why they buy gluten-free products, with 35% saying gluten-free products are "generally healthier", 27% saying "to manage my weight", 21% saying that gluten free products are "generally low-carb" and 15% saying a member of the household has a gluten or wheat intolerance.
Just 7% said they were buying them because a household member has celiac disease.
Indeed, according to Packaged Facts, "The conviction that gluten-free products are generally healthier is the top motivation for purchase of these products.”
Taste is also vital. Martino said that social media research has indicated that consumer conversation on gluten-free is focused on comparing the taste of various products.
“People love to share and discuss their personal favorites,” he said. “Embassy’s gluten-free products were created to taste great, and match the nutrition of regular bakery goods.”
The company is keeping its bakery mixes proprietary, but Brambilla did say the company has combined several unique ingredients to supplement the taste, texture, and nutrition commonly lacking in gluten-free products.
“The gluten-free product line promotes a taste indistinguishable from traditional bakery items,” explained the company. The company’s gluten-free breads feature high fiber content and a shelf life exceeding a week at ambient temperature, it added.
Brambilla explained that short shelf life forces retailers and consumers to store most gluten-free breads frozen, and this compromises the freshness and taste of the product. By improving the shelf life of bakery products the need for freezing could be removed.
“In the future we expect to see the gap between gluten and gluten-free products closing in regards to taste and freshness,” said Martino. “If this can be achieved there’s no doubt in my mind that the market has enormous potential and a bright future.”