Coborn’s has built a gluten-free bakery from scratch to meet the demand for fresh gluten-free bakery treats at its 50 Midwestern supermarkets and its online delivery company, CobornsDelivers. The bakery is housed on the Coborn’s corporate campus across from the company’s central bakery, and has begun production of 20 specialty bakery treats.
Coborn’s is an employee-owned grocery retailer with more than 9,000 employees and 54 supermarkets across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.
“More and more of our store guests have been asking for fresh gluten-free bakery items, as more people today have gluten allergies than ever before or are simply changing their diets. It is challenging to find products that are not frozen,” says Vice President of Marketing Dennis Host. “We set out to work on a plan to build a gluten-free scratch bakery that is completely separate from our central bake shoppe and we’re excited to introduce this new product line-up to meet the needs of our guests.”
The products will begin appearing in Coborn’s, Cash Wise and Marketplace Foods stores the week of August 17. They will have their own display and will be marked with the G Free Bakery label.
The initial 20 products are decadent muffins, hotdog and hamburger buns, sliced white bread, cupcakes, cakes, bars, cookies and brownies.
Muffin flavors include Double Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip, Banana, Blueberry and Cranberry Orange. Frosted cupcakes come in both White and Devil’s Food; the bars are fudge brownies and chocolate chip bars. Available cookies are Sugar, Raspberry, Chocolate Chip and Double Chocolate Chip – in two sizes. The frosted cakes are available in White and Devil’s Food. As seasons change, additional items will be added into the mix. In September, sugared cake donuts will be available. The flavors have been developed to appeal to all guests, whether they have a need for gluten-free or not.
“The integrity of our products for our guests is of utmost priority; that’s why we invested in a brand new space and all new equipment,” says Food Safety & Nutrition Manager Kim Kockler. “Whether our guests choose gluten-free treats by choice or necessity, we appreciate the peace of mind in knowing that those who select our products can trust the integrity of what we’re offering.”
The company invested in additional safeguards to ensure its gluten-free claim holds true. All ingredients entering the bakery and finished products exiting the bakery are tested to confirm the absence of gluten. This bakery facility is in a completely separate building from the company’s conventional bakery to ensure there is no cross contact with gluten-containing ingredients. Everything in the G Free Bakery has been built solely for this bakery, from the new ovens and pans to the utensils and employee uniforms.
G Free Bakery has begun the gluten-free certification process through the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO). Gluten-free certification is not required, however, Coborn’s, Inc. is actively pursuing it. Certification involves many steps, and the process will take at least four months from the application date. As part of the certification process, the bakery tests all of its finished products to ensure they meet the 20 parts per million guideline set by the FDA.