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Food & Beverage Reporter Jan-Feb 2016

14 | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 | FOOD & BEVERAGE REPORTER Going against the These innovators are taking baking into new Hot on the heels of the gluten-free revolution comes grain-free. Marika Sboros investigates the trend and speaks to the bold entrepreneurs behind this ancient/new way of eating. T o many, grain-free diets may seem like just another fad that will fizzle out sometime soon. But those at the centre of the trend say the only place grain-free is going is up, muscling in as the hot new item on the global “free-from” menu for health and wellness. Indeed, the signs are bright that grain- free is much more than just a spin-off of the gluten-free phenomenon which exploded in the 70s; it appears to be a powerful trend in its own right, supported by the increasingly popular low- carb diets such as Atkins, Paleo and Banting (see sidebar). Momentum behind these diets is being powered by new waves of research into the weight-loss and the general health benefits of going low-carb. Grain- free delivers the double whammy of being both gluten- and sugar-free (or, at the very least, free from added sugars) Research company Mintel calls grain-free the “new gluten-free”. Ac- cording to Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD), there has been significant growth in the launch of bakery products with non-grain flours in the last five years. One of the prime movers behind grain- free foods in South Africa is Cape Town’s Bronwyn Adir, owner of Life Bake. Her business was born out of “sheer desperation”, Adir says, after her younger child Alon was born in 2008 with allergies so severe that he couldn’t even keep her breast milk down. It was “a nightmare”, she says, during which time she shuttled from doctors to medical specialists seeking answers. None mentioned food allergies. As a last resort, Adir says she consulted Cape Town specialist paediatric dietitian Katherine Megaw who took one look at Alon and diagnosed allergies. She put Alon on a hypo-allergenic formula and within days he was on the path to health. When Alon was a year old, blood tests showed that he was allergic to almost all the common culprits – wheat, eggs, dairy, soy, tree nuts and peanuts. He also reacted badly to anything artificial: colours, flavours and preservatives. BAKING The Free-From hit list Free-From foods include the “Big Eight” allergens: dairy, eggs, fish, crustaceans, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soy – as well as the old favourites fat and salt - and more recently GMOs, sugar and grains. Entire expos are being devoted to Free-From foods. The next international expo will be held in the Netherlands in June. Visit Bronwyn Adir ... it all started when her son was born with multiple allergies.

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