How to Shop for Gluten-Free Products from Local Stores - dummies

How to Shop for Gluten-Free Products from Local Stores

By Nancy McEachern

If you need gluten-free products, buying them from a local grocery store may be the most cost-effective way to go. But you can save a ton of money by preparing meals on your own and forgoing some of the outrageously priced convenience foods. Use these tips to save money when purchasing food at your local grocery store:

  • Buy naturally gluten-free groceries. Skip the convenience foods. Processed and packaged foods are usually more expensive than plain meat, fresh produce, and other whole foods. Look for store specials and visit farmers’ markets to stock up on naturally gluten-free foods such as potatoes, rice, fruit, vegetables, dairy products, eggs, meats, fish, and poultry.

  • Check ads online. Many stores put their weekly grocery ads online. Visit the store website, click on the grocery ad, enter your zip code, choose your store, and see what’s on sale.

  • Use club and loyalty cards. Sign up for your local store’s savings card to take advantage of special pricing, sales, and rewards. Just register your card online and enjoy savings at the checkout.

  • Special-order by the case. When you need to purchase expensive gluten-free food, especially canned or nonperishable items, consider buying by the case from your grocery store or health food store. Many stores will give you a 10 percent discount on bulk orders, making this a win/win. You don’t pay for shipping, and the grocer doesn’t need to find shelf space for products that may not sell.

  • Buy major national brands instead of specialty brands. Food companies are becoming increasingly allergy friendly, so many products are made on dedicated lines to help prevent cross-contamination with common allergens. Confirming a company’s process by e-mail or a phone call can put your mind at ease and enable you to buy less-expensive gluten-free products.

    Among the large companies that offer gluten-free options — and that issue coupons — are Betty Crocker, Boar’s Head, General Mills, Zatarains, Kraft, Frito Lay, Chex Cereals, Progresso, and Heinz.

  • When buying specialty brands, become a fan. Many specialty gluten-free food manufacturers, including Udi’s Gluten Free and Rudi’s Gluten-Free, post discount coupons on their websites and Facebook pages, and most companies send alerts about their special promotions if you give them your e-mail address or Like their Facebook page.

  • Shop at large chain stores. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market carry a wide variety of gluten-free foods. If you don’t have one of these stores nearby, then Target, Wal-Mart, Costco, and other large chain stores also offer some gluten-free items.

  • Explore ethnic groceries. Some people swear by Asian stores for cheap rice and rice noodles. Don’t overlook this great option if you have a specialty grocery nearby.