Restaurants responding to gluten-free call

May 15 2014

No one in the foodservice industry can deny it - the call for gluten-free foods is definitely a hot trend at the moment.

Nothing epitomised this more than its pole position in Restaurant Canada's 2014 Chef's Survey released in March this year, meaning it's something consumers will be expecting when they choose to dine out. 

Indeed, Technomic has cited how many more eateries across the country are catering for this requirement. It's not just those who have celiac disease that are avoiding gluten - it's becoming a common dietary choice for some as well.

The food research firm noticed there was a staggering 35 per cent rise in the number of restaurateurs that were offering options that did not include gluten from the first quarter of 2013 to the same period in 2014. 

Another potential reason this trend has escalated recently is that certain foods that are naturally gluten-free, such as quinoa, have become incredibly popular among consumers, with some suggesting they're a 'superfood' of some description. 

Furthermore, gluten-free beer was listed as an up-and-coming trend, suggesting it's something operators should take note of in a bid to meet consumers' expectations. 

Certain parts of the menu are seeing particular growth in these kinds of products, such as desserts and side dishes. 

In Regina, there is a gluten-free bakery called Kneaded, meaning those with celiac disease are free to enjoy any of the food it serves. 

Additionally, Hero Certified Burgers has a special part of its menu that doesn't contain the product, meaning there is a variety of choice for diners adhering to this dietary requirement.

In terms of specific items that can easily be made without the ingredient, pizza is one possibility. 

Gino's is capitalising on the consumer's desire for personalised food with its 'Build your own Pizza' option. Not only is the crust gluten-free, but the toppings are also suitable for those not consuming it. 

Pizza Delight have the Chicken Pesto Pizza on their menu, which is a signature dish. The use of this term is a common move among operators who wish to make their items stand out. This dish is made on a gluten-free crust with sun-dried tomatoes, gourmet tomato sauce, grilled chicken, mozzarella, goat's cheese, spinach and roasted red peppers. 

Any diners who avoid both meat and gluten will be pleased to know they can easily be catered for. 

Jack Astor's Bar and Grill offers a 'Hold the Beef Burger', which is a gluten-free, meatless patty served on a bun also without the ingredient and comes full of delicious toppings such as goat's cheese and bruschetta tomatoes.

Alternatively, Saege Bistro's Truffle Pizza is an option for vegetarians, coming with roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, white truffle oil, bechamel sauce and sage, all on a celiac-friendly crust. 

As variety and innovation seem to be two things very much on a diner's wishlist, it's important for operators to ensure this is still the option for those avoiding gluten, as well as those who do not have any specific allergies or dietary requirements.