Update on Nature's Own Gluten-free Bread
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Jul 13 2010

Update on Nature's Own Gluten-free Bread

When the PR firm representing Nature’s Own contacted me about the new gluten-free breads rolling out from the company, I was shocked and delighted by the news. I announced the product roll out here and and reviewed the breads here. I knew that the breads were selling slowly at first, but sales quickly jumped as the Metro Atlanta gluten-free set finally got word of the breads being available at select stores in Metro Atlanta and some outlying areas.

The first breads that I tasted were shipped directly from the bakery in Thomasville, GA to my house, so they were about as fresh as they could be. Until last week, the loaves I bought at the store were as good as the first loaves. They were too tough on the edges to make a really soft gluten-free sandwich, so Udi’s remains my bread of choice for that. I reviewed the Udi’s gluten-free sandwiches at Jason’s Deli gluten-free experience here and Anne Steib reviewed here Jason’s Deli experience for us here.

OK – back to the Nature’s Own breads. What is so wonderful about the breads is that there are no preservatives in them and they are full of fiber. In fact, they have so much fiber that some people that don’t get a lot of fiber in their diets might want to take it slow when trying the breads. Like gluten-free oats, the extra fiber your system might not be used to might give you symptoms that mimic those of a gluten ingestion.

Last week, I picked up two loaves of the Extra Fiber White bread by Nature’s Own at a Kroger that was selected for the test market trial. My Publix manager tried to get his store added to the line up and was told it wasn’t possible at this time. No worries, the Kroger is on our way to a pizza place we visit often so we just pick up the bread when passing by. Unfortunately, the last shipment of breads arrived (or were stocked) late so the expiration date was only five days after the breads were stocked. I didn’t mind because I freeze them anyway and use them for grilled sandwiches and toast.

The loaves were noticeably heavier than any of the loaves I’d bought before. When I opened the bread at home, I noticed that the bread was not like the other loaves in terms of texture either. It was tough all the way through and it wasn’t even sliced through all the way for part of the loaf. I’d read online that at least one person bought the bread and found it was molded after they got it home. I checked both the loaves that I bought and there was no sign of mold anywhere. However, the bread was not the same as it had been when I made toast with it. I had to throw out the part of the bread where something odd happened in the baking cycle. It was like there was a knot in the bread. I can’t really explain it better than that, but the area where this happened is the part that the slicer didn’t cut all the way through.

Nature’s Own has had a hard time keeping up with the demand for their new gluten-free breads. However, the quality of the product should be improving instead of going down. I’m not interested in paying $2 more for their breads than Udi’s, if the breads are not going to be consistent in terms of taste and texture. From a small company, these changes might be understandable, but I’m a little taken aback to see this happen with Nature’s Own. It’s true that gluten-free baking is unlike gluten baking, but consistency is something we’ve come to expect from companies like Udi’s. It doesn’t matter who comes out with a gluten-free bread if quality control issues aren’t in place. Hopefully, Nature’s Own will get the kinks worked out and improve the texture of the breads. If that happens, a nationwide roll out should follow suit.

Article Written by:

Tiffany is considered a gluten-free advocate as well as the most discriminating gluten-free diner around. Her goal is to help others learn that there is life after a celiac diagnosis. Gluten-free dining and travel are two of her favorite things to do. Tiffany is a contributing writer and the Advertising Manager at "Delight gluten free" magazine. Check out her local blog, Gluten-Free Atlanta, for tips and tricks about living gluten-free in the ATL! Follow Tiffany on Twitter!

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  • http://www.glutenfreemusings.com Anne Steib

    Interesting. I haven’t tried Nature’s Own yet, though I have looked every time I am in the grocery store. But this most recent review now makes me want to stick with my Udi’s bread, especially when it is cheaper. Being that we only have gluten-free in our house and we go through bread like water, the cheaper and tastier, the better!

  • http://glutenfreeislife.com/ Kimberly Bouldin

    Thanks for the update, Tiffany. I hope that they can get it all figured out & expand their distribution area.

    Kim

  • Pingback: Gluten Free Life - Best Gluten Free Bread – Welcome

  • samual

    Ttahts why i am sticking with my Katz gluten free bread thank god never had a problem also they have a dedicated facility and its kosher thank god for katz

  • Cathy

    Hi-
    This bread was great when it first came out and at $5.99 a loaf I bought it to supplement what I bake at home. However, I just went to Kroger yesterday and the price has jumped from$5.99 a loaf to $7.49. No bread is worth that price tag!!! In an email from the company this is what they wrote:
    “Thank you for contacting us about Nature’s Own Gluten Free bread, which is currently in test market in the Atlanta area.

    We are excited about offering fresh, gluten-free bread to people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

    Unfortunately, gluten-free bread is more costly for us to produce than other Nature’s Own varieties. Not only are some of the ingredients more expensive, but we are baking this bread in small batches. This process is more labor-intensive and less efficient than how we normally bake our breads, which adds to the overall cost. Still, we believe we have priced our gluten-free breads in line with other similar breads on the market. Our research has shown that gluten-free breads can range in price from $4.99 to $7.50.

    We know that consumers vote on our products every day in the supermarket and we take great care to offer high-quality baked foods that are a good value. We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with us.”
    I told her I planned to “vote in the marketplace” by boycotting their product until the price comes back down!

    • Rick

      Interesting, I too just saw that Nature’s Own pricing at my local Publix in an Atlanta Metro suburb had risen from the original price of $5.99 up to $6.99. Udi’s bread is $4.69 at the same Publix. While I stopped making my own Pamela’s bread in my bread machine when the Nature’s Own first appeared, I will be going back to making my own bread again, which is probably around $3-4 per loaf. I chose to buy the Nature’s Own at the premium of $5.99, only to show my support to the company for providing another gluten free bread option to the market. Now they are too high, and I won’t buy it at that price.

  • http://www.glutenfreepromotions.com Tiffany Janes

    The news about the price hike for Nature’s Own bread is very disappointing especially since the test market is in Atlanta where we can get Udi’s fabulous bread for less than $4 in some places. Who would pay $6.99 for bread that isn’t as good as Udi’s? Not many gf-ers that I know would. Plus, the Nature’s Own bread was good in the beginning but it’s gotten heavier and denser every time I’ve bought it after the first month it came out. I have not purchased it in over two months now because it feels like a brick. It’s unfortunate that this bread experiment by a mainstream company isn’t going that well because other companies might not contemplate getting into the shelf stable gluten-free bread game if this bread isn’t widely embraced by gluten-free customers. Udi’s products have set the standard for great tasting bread and though I’d like to buy bread that is not in the freezer or fridge, I’d rather have a great bread over a shelf stable one that doesn’t taste great any day.

  • Marie

    I loved the Nature’s Own GF bread I found and we quickly went back to purchase more only to find that it was out of stock and the store “could not order more.” Their website now says that they have discontinued making the GF products. I say that’s too bad – even at $7 per loaf it was still cheaper (pound for pound) than Udi’s and had much more fiber and flavor! Udi’s is a good product and for now, we’ll have to just enjoy their light crispy “white-bread” style of breadmaking.

  • http://www.glutenfreepromotions.com Tiffany Janes

    Marie – I didn’t find out until yesterday that Nature’s Own dropped the gluten-free bread. My lunch buddies mentioned it and I was disappointed to hear the news. There were a lot of glitches regarding the production of the breads and spoilage issues were costing the company a lot in losses so this decision isn’t a total surprise. It is however, unfortunate that the test market turned out this way.