- Online meal kit provider Green Chef Corporation has received Gluten-Free certification through the Gluten Intolerance Group’s Gluten-Free Food Service (GFFS) program, according to a company statement.
- In addition to a specific gluten-free meal kit menu, Green Chef’s keto and paleo options are also certified gluten-free. This means all of the company’s gluten-free meal kits will now be adorned with the official “Certified Gluten-Free” label, recognized as a mark of authentication by consumers with celiac disease and others with gluten-intolerance.
- According to information posted on Green Chef’s website, the GFFS certification program is a model of established best practices for foodservice facilities offering gluten-free options. The GFFS logo displayed on food and menus stands for the independent verification of quality, integrity and safety of food preparation policies, procedures, education and standards. Certified companies have demonstrated that they will apply the necessary level of rigor to processes and procedures to eliminate cross-contamination and provide a safe eating experience for gluten-free consumers.
While Blue Apron, HelloFresh and a host of other meal kit companies cater to any consumer looking for convenient meal solutions, Green Chef’s gluten-free meal kits are serving a bigger function — helping consumers with special dietary needs.
Launched in 2014, Green Chef is a trailblazer in the meal kit marketplace. Not only did it become the first national meal kit provider to be certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it also was the first to launch specialty menus designed for consumers following vegan, keto and paleo diets. Green Chef has now gone through the rigorous process to uphold standards needed to attain gluten-free certification by a consumer and patient advocacy group well-regarded throughout the gluten-free and celiac community.
“As someone who has spent my entire life working to make a difference in the food system, I am truly excited for this latest milestone for our customers and company. We understand the difficulties of those facing issues with gluten, and as leaders in our field, are thrilled to be able to provide the gluten-free community with healthy and delicious gluten-free food options,” CEO and founder Michael Joseph said in a statement.
Catering to the needs of dedicated populations, including those with special dietary needs, is a well-played move by Green Chef. For the 1% or so of the consumer population with celiac disease — who must maintain a strict gluten-free diet to stay healthy — finding “safe” places to dine out or quick and easy meal solutions is anything but convenient.
Research indicates another 5 to 10% of all people may suffer from a gluten sensitivity of some form and could also benefit from eating food without it. Beyond Celiac estimates that 83% of Americans with celiac disease have not been formally diagnosed as of yet, so there is untapped demand for gluten-free options.
The gluten-free packaged foods market continues to grow and has been projected to be worth $5.28 million by 2022. There's a huge opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to fill a gaping void in the marketplace by better catering to the needs of this consumer group — as well as other consumers on special diets.
While getting certified gluten-free could be a hefty investment due to the rigorous standards that must be upheld to ensure foods remain safe and free of all gluten — that is, avoiding any potential cross-contamination throughout the entire food chain from suppliers to storage areas to food prep stations to packing, shipping and delivery — the outcome could be worth it.
Gluten-free shoppers — and really any customers with special dietary needs — are a loyal bunch. When they find products, retailers or restaurants willing to cater to their needs, the reward is usually an unwavering level of repeat patronage and a great deal of free marketing in terms of word-of-mouth and social media conversations.