Wouldn’t it be great to have a completely gluten-free shop in London, a shop where everything is suitable for coeliacs, where there is no need to worry about contamination? A place where the staff will know their codex wheat from their xantham gum and won’t look at you askance for asking to see the label? This is what The Gluten Free Emporium wants to be.
Fortunata (Julia) Zardeto and the team behind Kingston upon Thames’ Bruschetta restaurant would like to create a shop in Central London which sells quality, reasonably priced gluten-free food direct from their own kitchens and selected freefrom companies.
The company (S G Senza Glutine) currently produces gluten-free pizza bases, cakes, fresh-filled pasta and gnocchi, and they wish to include in the Emporium a fresh pasta counter, a bakery and cakes section, and a deli counter. I for one am SALIVATING at the thought of the fresh pasta and gnocchi, as these are things that as an (almost) lifelong coeliac I have never tried.
Julia & co have significant experience in the gluten-free industry and catering, both in running Bruschetta and selling their own products (mainly pizza bases) to over 150 restaurants around the UK. I sadly never had a chance to visit Bruschetta while it was open, but the reviews are good and their homemade Italian meals sounded delicious.
I think this is a genuine gap in the market, and a shop like this could flourish in the right location, and perhaps even be the start of their gluten-free empire. I agree that they need to be somewhere like Covent Garden which is accessible from all corners of London, and also central enough that gluten-free tourists will visit. The Emporium will also have an online store for those further afield from London.
One could argue that places like Wholefoods are already offering a lot of gluten free products, and the selection in the major supermarkets is much improved from a few years ago. But as Julia says in the video, our favourite products often appear and disappear from the shelves based on profitability, and there is never the full range of products that you would want all in one place. I know that personally I spread my shopping over 3 or 4 supermarkets each week to get the products I want.
The Gluten Free Emporium is also offering gluten-free manufacturers the opportunity to place their products on their shelves free of charge. This could open up doors for a lot of the smaller, local gluten-free companies who cannot afford the fees/production demands of the big supermarkets.
The Kickstarter goal is set at £90,000 to be reached in the next month, which is ambitious but not impossible. You can pledge a little or a lot, and you get something back for your money; a free lunch and drink if you pledge £15 for example. You only get charged if the project reaches their target.
I have pledged and posted about this because I think this is a great idea and if successful, the Gluten-free Emporium could bring something genuinely new and exciting into the lives of coeliacs and gluten-free dieters. I am not working for them, I would just love to see it happen!
From the team: ‘The £100,000 we’re trying to raise [Note: assume the other 10,000 is coming from elsewhere] would give us the opportunity to open the first of a number of our Gluten Free Emporium’s around the UK and help us establish a presence on the internet. It would also give us the funds to finish and publish our Gluten Free Recipe Book that would be available on the Internet and also in the emporium.’
I wish them every success. I would love to hear other coeliacs and gluten-free dieters thoughts on this venture.