IT’S THE same old story. Every time I find a decent free from product and leap for joy, some supermarket chain or other decides to discontinue it. And so it is with the Dietary Specials deep pan cheese and tomato pizza I discovered only last week.
Nipping into our local Sainsbury’s to stock up on a few in time for Sid’s birthday party this weekend, I found the freezer cabinet stripped of DS pizzas with only Sainsbury’s own brand ‘Freefrom’ versions in its place. The problem with the own brand is that it contains something called psyllium husk, and psyllium is a seed. Sid is highly sesame allergic and we have been advised not to try any seeds (poppy, corainder, mustard, you name it) until he has been fully tested for each.
Ringing Sainsbury’s consumer care line this afternoon I’m told that, indeed, the DS line of pizzas has been discontinued in favour of Sainsbury’s own. This is an all too familar story and it makes me furious. What tends to happen is that products that cover all bases are replaced by own brand ‘free from’ stuff that is largely obsessed with being gluten free at the expense of all the other main allergens. Hence, for instance, we can’t buy Sainsbury’s own ‘Freefrom’ porridge oats as they “are not suitable for nut or peanut allergy sufferers”. We can’t buy Sainsbury’s own ‘Freefrom’ chocolate as it contains coconut milk – another no-go for Sidney. We can’t buy Sainsbury’s own ‘Freefrom’ bread as it contains egg. Etcetera.
It’s my utter bug bear and I’ve written about it so many times – supermarkets who think they’re fulfilling the ‘free from’ brief when all they give a shit about is churning out a few gluten free staples, edging the real stuff, properly aimed at allergic consumers, from the shelves and raking in the cash. It happened earlier this year when all the major supermarkets decided they wouldn’t stock Kinnerton milk chocolate – instead stuffing the shelves with their own confectionery, inevitably containing egg, or nuts, or similar. The end result? Kinnerton itself was forced to discontinue the line.
I’ve left a request with Sainsbury’s for them to start stocking the DS pizzas again. Apparently if enough customers demand it, they will reconsider: if you are fed up, like me, of the big supermarkets edging out the genuine free from competition in favour of their own, substandard products, then please, please call the Sainsbury’s customer care line on 0800 636 262, press option ‘5’, and ask them to restock DS cheese and tomato pizzas.
Either way, it’s now too late for us to buy the pizzas in time for Sid’s birthday. Same old same old.