Monday, 3 June 2013

Are Tesco Tops for Free From?

Once upon a time I wasn't too choosy about where I shopped for food - I just went to the nearest large supermarket and topped up at a smaller local one in between trips to the larger store. Not any more, though! These days I find it essential to live near a Tesco Extra, a large Sainsbury's, a reasonably sized Waitrose, and well within range of Ocado, as well. We're moving shortly, and I'm rather worried that in our new locality, we'll find it difficult to get hold of products that we've come to love, and on which we've come to rely. 

I've often heard it said that Sainbury's is best for Free from food, and that Tesco mainly cater for the gluten free. AND, to be fair, it is true that Tesco has started stocking a number of new gluten free products, some of which are also dairy free, such as Heinz gluten free pasta and Newburn's bread, wraps etc. However, maybe it's just the one near me, but it's beginning to look to me as though Tesco is taking the challenge on - actually developing and seeking new products, that are specifically dairy free, especially in the chilled department. The only problem is that it's a bit of a postcode lottery - it's a bit hit and miss, according to where you happen to live!

I really wish that it wasn't like this, but that all 'Extras' stocked the same, all 'Metros' stocked the same, all medium-sized stores stocked the same, so that at least you'd know what to expect - based on the size of the store.

An example of this, is that recently I discovered that Tesco had started stocking strawberry flavoured Koko milk. Some Extras had them in stock, but not either of the Extras near me, though. I was quite disappointed, as I really wanted to get my hands on some. Eventually, the health food shop that I frequent came to my rescue, otherwise I'd still be waiting!! 

There have been, however, some new products that we have been able to get hold of. I've already mentioned the new Free From Desserts in a previous post, and they were exciting enough in themselves, however there are more products out there! If they're not in your store yet, keep your eyes peeled for these (and badger the manager like crazy, until they stock them):

Coconut based dairy free smoothies 

Perfect for going out and about

I love these - purely because they're a dairy free product that has not made with soya!   Yay! Another great thing about these smoothies, is that they're made with added calcium - always good to see, when you're dairy free!

There are two flavours. We've only tried this Tropical Fruit one so far. The other one is banana. Baby was not keen (probably because it didn't taste of chocolate) but I really enjoyed it. They are sold in a box of four, in the chiller cabinet. Smoothies are not great for your teeth, but one of these (every now and again) would be a lovely treat.

Allergy Advice: Recipe/factory nut free. Cannot guarantee completely nut free.

Dairy Free Dessert Shakes 

Also great for taking out

Another find from the chiller. They're a bit of an odd shape and come in a net bag. They're not huge. I can't have them, because they contain soya, but Baby loves having one as a treat.

Allergy Advice: Contains soya. Recipe no nuts. Made in nut free area of a factory that handles nuts elsewhere. Cannot guarantee nut free.

Gluten and dairy free lemon cake bars 

Just right for an afternoon tea

We found these in the Free From aisle. There's four in a pack. I'm not normally a fan of lemon flavoured cakes (by default, I prefer chocolate) but as shop cakes go, these are really quite nice. They're delicately flavoured, so the lemon doesn't over-power. They're obviously manufactured, rather than home-made, but not too dry and hold together well. I'll definitely be buying them again.

Allergy Advice: 
Contains egg. Recipe nut free. Cannot guarantee completely nut free - equipment previously handled products containing nuts.

Pack of two gluten free and dairy free pizza bases

There's two of these bases in one pack. Okay, so they are not fancy artisan pizza bases, baked in a wood stove, but I really quite like them. In fact I prefer them to the large Sainsbury's Free From large pizza base, because that one tends to fall apart, before I've even got it home!! Just the right size for one person, I find these smaller pizza bases very convenient for making a quick lunch at home.

Allergy Advice:
Contains egg. Recipe/factory no nuts. Cannot guarantee nut free.

Gluten and dairy free Cupcakes 

Sorry they look a bit bashed - they were all like that

I have to admit I was quite disappointed with these.  However, I have added them into this post, as I could be wrong - Tesco seem to keep restocking the shelves, so someone must be liking them and buying more.

There are two flavours, chocolate and strawberry. You get two in a packet but they're quite small.  I couldn't eat the chocolate one as it contained soya. Baby liked the sponge but not the topping. It was not until I tried the strawberry that I understood why - I thought the topping didn't taste very nice. The sponge was quite nice, though - it had a nice flavour and texture to it - if a wee bit dry!

Allergy Advice: 
Contains egg.
Recipe nut free but cannot guarantee nut free, as equipment used in their manufacture was previously used for products containing nuts.

Well, these are some of the new products that we have enjoyed. Now, back to the question in the title: How about you? Are Tesco 'tops' for you?? What products have you found and enjoyed?

Or, have you found Tesco's range (in your area) rather disappointing??

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  1. i have never seen any of these products in any of the tescos in a 20mile radius of where i live...

    1. So sorry to hear that Sarah! It's such a shame!! I really can't understand why there's such disparity between Tesco stores. I expect they would argue about demographics, but I just don't buy into that argument. If I move/travel to another part of the UK I'd want to buy the same products that I rely on.

  2. You must have a much better buyer in your local store than me. I haven't seen most of these products (as usual)but I have to say I do choose Tesco pitta breads and pizza bases over most other freefrom brands. I did buy Tesco pasta as well but have been very impressed with the Heinz Spaghetti. Am I right in thinking this is the only gluten free spaghetti on the market? I would like to see Tesco offering more freefrom products for all allergens not just gluten free, so less soya and dairy. Their frozen and ready meal selection is particularly poor and inconsistancy of stock control can be frustrating. I'll look out for thee products :)

    1. I haven't tried the Heinz pasta yet. I think I have seen other gluten free spaghetti, by Dove's Farm, but in Sainsbury's, I think. I don't usually buy the dried stuff, as I much prefer Del 'Ugo (in Waitrose), but it's much harder to find these days!!

  3. Oo Tesco - if they thought about nut allergy sufferers once in a while I might even shop there!!!! : )
    Great posts as always : )

    1. Thanks Sian, you are always so encouraging :) As for nut allergies... I so wish manufacturers would wise up and help out by tightening up their manufacturing processes, for those (like yourself) who really need to know. 'May contain,' is just a back-covering exercise. I hate it.