Frequently Asked Questions
Why are gluten-free products so expensive?
Gluten-free products are commonly more expensive when compared to gluten-containing products because of the role gluten plays in food (1). Gluten provides consistency properties in foods and is difficult to replace when removed to create celiac-friendly substitutes. Gluten-free products require a combination of GF flours, emulsifiers, enzymes, stabilizers, and hydrocolloids to mimic the qualities of gluten. This creates a more expensive recipe that results in a higher selling price.
How do I minimize cost while shopping gluten-free?
Shopping gluten-free does not mean you have to always sacrifice your budget. Consider the following tips:
Visit all the grocery stores in your area to scope out the gluten-free options. Each store offers a unique selection of gluten-free products ranging in price. A more affordable grocery store may have a commonly available gluten-free item for a lower price.
Get in the habit of checking the gluten-free isle regularly when you’re at the grocery store. You may be surprised how often gluten-free products are on sale. When a non-perishable is on sale be sure to stock up. You can also use a sale opportunity to try something new.
Walk by the gluten-free frozen section when you are in the grocery store. Frozen gluten-free foods can also go on sale for you to take home and store until you're ready to eat.
Become aware of less expensive gluten-free staples. This includes rice, oats (must be certified gluten-free), corn, potatoes, and other grains when they are offered on sale. Buying gluten-free grains in bulk will also save you money in the long run.
Consider shopping online. Online retailers offered through popular shopping sites often put bulk items on sale or offer at a lower price due direct purchasing from the manufacturer.
Contact the manufacturer of your favourite products and ask if there is an opportunity to purchase a bulk amount of a gluten-free product at a discounted price. Some companies recognize the financial burdens associated with the diet and will offer celiac patients a good deal.
What are the best gluten-free products to buy?
The answer to this question depends on personal preference. If you haven’t found a favorite brand of a certain gluten-free item, take the opportunity to browse your local grocery stores or online retailers to experiment with different brands offered at a reasonable price. The key to enjoying the gluten-free diet is being open to try new things and find the best tasting brands for your budget. Be patient, connect with others in the community for recommendations, and have fun experimenting with recipes and new products at home!
Is there a budget-friendly way to dine out while gluten-free?
It can be overwhelming for celiac patients to find reliable and safe restaurants that offer meals at an affordable price. This stress adds to the burdens associated with the disease (2,3). The good news about the increasing popularity of adhering to dietary restrictions is there are more and more gluten-free options available on the market. Restaurants are making the effort to meet the needs of celiac patients and keep kitchens safe. Unfortunately, sometimes this effort to create a celiac-safe environment adds a higher cost to menu items that are gluten-free.
What can you do as a budget-conscious consumer looking to eat out gluten-free? Do your research! Look online to find restaurants in your area that offer celiac-friendly dining at affordable prices. Find local restaurants to support and feel good about the contribution you’re making to the community. Encourage your favourite restaurants to consider adding gluten-free menu options that are safe for celiac patients. The more gluten-free competition there is in an area the more restaurants will be forced to lower their prices to attract the gluten-free market. It also allows you to have more dining options to choose from.
You can also consider finding gluten-free recipes and trying to make your favourite menu items from the comfort of your own home. The reward that comes with a recipe turning out without emptying your pockets is well worth the effort.
Are there tax deductions available for Canadian Celiac patients?
Yes, Individuals diagnosed with celiac disease can claim for the additional costs of the gluten-free diet on their income taxes annually. Fill out the celiac and tax information request form found on the Canadian Celiac Association's website to gain access to a webinar, tips, and tools for the incremental medical tax claim.
Zarkadas M et al. The impact of a gluten-free diet on adults with coeliac disease: results of a national survey. J Hum Nutr Diet 2006; 19(1):41-9.
White LE, Bannerman E, Gillett PM. Coeliac disease and the gluten-free diet: a review of the burdens; factors associated with adherence and impact on health-related quality of life, with specific focus on adolescence. J Hum Nutr Diet 2016; 29(5):593-606.
Mogul D et al. The unknown burden and cost of celiac disease in the US. Expert Rev Pharmacoecon Outcomes Res 2017 17(2):181-188.