When I first had to give up wheat in 1997 the choice of wheat or gluten free foods was absolutely disgusting. You could hammer nails in with the bread, the cookies crumbled on being touched and tasted like dust, and pasta was limited to corn pasta. I used to look through a depressing range of items in the local health foodstore weekly, hoping for something to sooth those cravings.

Move on a couple of years and supermarket chains started to get the idea that wheat and gluten free diets were a potential big money earner, and so Free From ranges were created, offering a better alternative to the horrible gluten free fare that was currently in the marketplace. This galvanised the original gluten free food manufacturers to raise their game, because all of a sudden they were competing against major chain supermarkets who were now selling some very tasty ranges of allergy aware foods.

If you're shopping for wheat or gluten free foods many supermarkets have a 'Free From' or 'Gluten Free' section. However labelling changes in some countries, away from "gluten free" to now stating "no gluten containing ingredients", means that a lot of gluten free foods have now been integrated into the mainstream items on the shelves, so checking packet information to find the safe item is a little more time consuming, but it does open up the range of items potentially available.

For example, I wanted to pick up a readymade curry, the supermarket visited no longer had a 'Free From' area, an assistant explained that I now needed to pick up every curry in the chiller cabinet and check the back to see its allergy status, because more of their products were now labelled "free of gluten containing ingredients".

Important note: "free of gluten containing ingredients" isn't the same as "certified gluten free", though it is a good indication that the product may be safe to eat. You still need to check for any additional notes pertaining to cross-contamination, e.g. "this product has been manufactured in a plant that also processes wheat" etc.

So, if you are in a supermarket and can't find the gluten free food section then don't despair, it may be that the product you want is with the mainstream products.