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Thursday, October 7, 2010
Gluten-Free Celebrity Product Endorsement: Next Big Thing?
We all know that gluten-free foods are the trend of the moment but I am predicting the next big trend will be celebrity-endorsed, gluten-free products.


Celebrities are already endorsing the gluten-free diet as a "weight loss" regimen, so why not jump on that bandwagon a little bit more and make a profit off the gluten-free trend of the moment?

There are celebrities that have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and truly need to be on a gluten-free diet. Just this week, Dana Delaney of Desperate Housewives, was featured on the cover of Prevention Magazine talking about her diagnosis and eating habits once diagnosed with Celiac. But it seems more often than not, celebrities are eating gluten-free for the wrong reasons. Do an Internet search on "celebrities + gluten-free" and you will see exactly what I mean. Count how many actually have Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance. Then count how many weigh over 100lbs and are bigger than a size 0!!

Celebrities and their products

Now it seems that being on the diet is no longer enough to be noticed. Creating your own line of gluten-free products is now the way to be in the "in-crowd" amongst gluten-free celebrities.

Although I still don't know who she is except for hottie Bradley Cooper's ex-wife, apparently Jennifer Esposito has her own line of gluten-free baking mixes. Rumor also has it that a daytime talk show host is also working on her own gluten-free goodies.

Now, Mariel Hemingway is making a new type of gluten-free snack called a Blisscuit. Apparently a Blisscuit is "neither a health bar nor a traditional cookie... Blisscuits™ are part of a new building category known as "functional food". No refined sugar – still sweet – low carbs – no wheat with a gluten free recipe – high comfort – real food and Blisscuits help to boost your immune system!"

I don't even know what "functional foods" are except for another buzz word being thrown in my face. According to Wikipedia, "Functional foods are any healthy food claimed to have a health-promoting or disease-preventing property beyond the basic function of supplying nutrients." I am sure Mariel means well, but for some reason when I got the press release yesterday announcing this new product and celebrity alliance and I was annoyed.

As many of my readers know, I have always felt that any press is good press for the Celiac Disease community. Talking about eating gluten-free, even by celebs, will clearly show there is a demand for gluten-free products. I am just frustrated by the trendiness of it all. What happens next year when gluten-free is out and functional foods are in? Does that mean the gluten-free shelves will be empty? I hope not!

To me, a gluten-free product is a gluten-free product. I won't go out and buy it just because the creator was in a movie, commercial, or on TV. If it tastes good and is safe for me to eat, I will give it a try. Good luck to those celebrities trying to launch their gluten-free products. Just do us all a favor and make your product good enough to stick around for a long while!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

GFF speaks for many of us GF people by necessity, not by choice. Thanks for your positive but realistic "spin" on GF. Gluten free nourishment is necessary for millions in order to survive, not merely a diet choice nor one that is arbitrary whether or not one must stick to the GF diet.

"I don't care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right." In our case, more publicity should mean better exposure. Exposure brings demand. Demand should bring more GF knowledge, products to all, and therefore, to GFers. THAT improves lives - educated consumers.

With the celeb fad, the education part might get lost in translation (sorry, I couldn't resist). It is the strict adherance to the GF diet that makes GFers healthy, not the "whenever we feel like it" approach to GF living. Makeup, products we're in contact with as well as food. Let's hope this last point can be understood by more. Just get the word out.

Blogger Unknown said...

Coincidental timing of a Trimuph Dining poll that just went up today.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting. I think it's great everyone is talking about gluten free, but i find it can often be a problem when dining out.
I find that I have to tell waiters and restaurant staff that I actually "have celiac disease", and am not just eating gluten free, because it is "trendy" or popular.
When it is perceived as a diet fad, I find it is often not taken seriously by restaurant staff.

Blogger Unknown said...

Anon, that is a really good point. I still say I have an "allergy" because waitstaff usually take that more seriously. If they think I am at risk of a major allergic reaction during their shift, maybe they will actually take me seriously. Saying "Celiac Disease" usually just gets a blank stare!

Anonymous SueZboss said...

Good points! Yup- when eating out, that is the only time I ALWAYS use the words "Allergic" and "will get Really Sick" if it's not gluten-free (sometimes I don't even say "Gluten-Free", I try to say Flour, Wheat, Rye, Barley, Soy Sauce- other words that I think they will understand while avoiding the term "gluten-free DIET"... so that they don't think it's just another "low-carb fad"!! :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most frustrating is the trend of publications categorizing it with "carb-free", etc. The ignorance drives me nuts!

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