Gluten-Free Brands in Vancouver You Should Know – Coho Market
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Gluten-Free Brands in Vancouver You Should Know

For those of you stocking up on gluten-free brands regularly, you’ll be able to attest it isn’t always easy to find products that are both delicious and safe from cross-contamination.

From a food safety standpoint, some products are made in facilities that also process the likes of wheat - which can be dangerous for eaters with severe gluten allergies (such as celiacs) to consume. On the other hand, products made from gluten-free flour alternatives can sometimes lack in the texture department - coming out rubbery or gritty. And at times, they can also contain too many filler ingredients.

We at Coho have our list of favourite gluten-free brands in Vancouver, whether they’re created in one of our commissary kitchens or are a local small business. These brands have values that are aligned with ours and also coincidentally taste amazing.

Why Are Gluten-Free Products So Popular?

For those that have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or wheat allergy, gluten-free products allow them to still enjoy staple products such as pasta, bread, and other baked goods. In addition, some people making lifestyle changes are readily adopting the gluten-free diet for potential health benefits.

There are also a lot of foods from a number of different cultures that are just naturally gluten-free. For instance, cassava or tapioca flour is used often in the likes of Brazilian or Vietnamese cuisine, as is maize flour (masa harina) which is used to make tortillas in Mexico, or arepas in Colombia or Venezuela.

Arepas (Source: Serious Eats)

Types of Gluten-Free Brands To Buy

Our online shop Coho Market features a variety of hyperlocal gluten-free brands and they’re as eclectic as they are delicious. Some of these brands create their products in dedicated gluten-free facilities, and others do not - and we’ve labelled them as such.

We’ve also featured a couple brands that, while aren’t our members, are creating quality gluten-free baked goods in the heart of our great city.

1. Beijú Foods

Beiju Foods are creators of a Brazilian food company seeking to honor their roots and promote the vibrant food culture of Brazil. Their products are made with cassava flour, which is naturally gluten-free. Also non-GMO, preservative-free, and minimally-processed to avoid the use of artificial ingredients and preservatives, their offerings include Brazilian waffles, which marries the Pao de Queijo cheese bread flavour with a Canadian-style waffle.

These products are made in an exclusively gluten-free facility.

2. Next Level Bars 

Next Level Foods are the creators of gluten-free protein bars with no added sweeteners and are free of common allergens such as dairy, soy, and nuts. Offerings include: fibre-filled “apples, spice, and everything nice,” and the iron-packed “world’s healthiest chocolate bar” - perfect for a day out on the bike or on the trails.

These products are made in an exclusively gluten-free facility.

3. The True Nosh Company

True Nosh are the creators of sustainable and plant-based Asian sauces inspired by traditional recipes. Their most popular offering is their luxurious vegan XOXO sauce, but they also make gluten-free, low carb, preservative and additive-free dim sum such as their gluten-free, vegetarian dumplings or their gluten-free vegan shiu mai.

Worth noting is that their products were made in a facility that also processes wheat products.

4. Panela Lemon

Panela Lemon is a plant-based, 100% natural organic bakery. Their preservative-free, non-GMO cookies are made with organic whole grain flour, natural food colouring, and contain zero refined sugars. Choose from their gluten-free Choco Dream cookie, loaded with chopped walnuts, brown rice crisps, and melt-in-your-mouth chocolate ganache; or their gluten-free Butterfly oatmeal cookie stuffed with coconut cashew buttercream and topped with Panela cinnamon.

Please note that these cookies are made in a facility that also processes wheat products.

5. Salty Cabbage 

Salty Cabbage makes small-batch, authentic kimchi that’s sourced from local ingredients when possible. A powerful, natural probiotic, kimchi is also a cultivator of community as families in Korea get together every year to prepare large batches together. Salty Cabbage’s kimchi is crafted in the same spirit, using traditional family recipes, and contains no MSG or preservatives.

Their vegan classic kimchi is also gluten-free, although it was made in a facility that also processes wheat.

6. Friendly Keto Lady 

The Friendly Keto Lady is a one woman show that serves up delicious keto-friendly baked goods, such as donuts and Nanaimo bars. And best of all, the products are also gluten-free. Their mission is to satisfy the sweet tooth cravings of those on keto diets, without sacrificing on flavour and texture.

Their products are made in an exclusively gluten-free facility.

7. The Gluten-Free Epicurean

(Source: The Gluten-Free Epicurean)

The Gluten-Free Epicurean serves up freshly baked gluten-free, celiac-friendly foods that don't sacrifice on taste. Located in East Vancouver, this bakery serves up cupcakes, cookies, ice cream sandwiches, donuts and the like.

Their products are made in an exclusively gluten-free facility. 

8. Lemonade Gluten-Free Bakery

(Source: Lemonade gluten-free bakery) 

Lemonade Gluten-Free Bakery is run by a pastry chef with a gluten-allergy, and all their products are made in a gluten-free dedicated facility. Offerings include freshly-baked breads, tarts, cakes, pastries, and cookies.

What is Gluten Anyway?

At its core, it’s best to understand what gluten is and how it’s “structured” as a protein - so you can get a better idea into why people are interested in buying products without it. But also to understand why some eaters are sensitive to gluten to begin with.

Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains that includes wheat, rye, spelt, and barley and out of all of these - wheat is the most common. 

And if we dive deeper into gluten’s chemical structure, it’s two main proteins are called glutenin and gliadin. Gliadin makes up the majority of gluten’s protein, a whopping 70%, and it’s gliadin that’s the culprit responsible for the immune response for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. 

(Source: Serious Eats)

But exactly how does gluten work? Let’s think about a soft ball of dough that’s ready to be formed into say, a loaf of bread. When you mix flour with water, the gluten proteins work as a bonding agent to form a gummy, glue-like network that makes the dough stretchable and elastic, and gives it that chewy texture when the final product is bitten into.

Gluten is a key player to products such as bread, pasta, noodles, pizza, because of its ability to bind together, which is why you’ll often see xanthan gum, a thickening agent, in the ingredient list of gluten-free baked goods.

Love to support local gluten-free brands? 

At Coho, we have an exclusively gluten-free facility on the North Shore, and also other small businesses working with us handcrafting gluten-free products ranging from artisan baked goods, to kimchi and dim sum. 

If you'd like to stock up on small-batch gluten-free products from small businesses in your area, browse our gluten-free foods aisle on Coho Market and discover a myriad of new brands creating in our commissary kitchens. 

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