The two well-loved local F&B brands are confident more consumers here are preferring gluten-free alternatives to their favourite baked treats

Whether you’re choosing it for health reasons or because you’re hoping to manage your diet better, some of your favourite pastries are now more readily available gluten-free. Even more so now that local coffee and bakery chain Joe & Dough and ‘free-from’ food specialist Oh My Goodness have teamed up.

The pilot initiative was launched late last year with a small selection of just two cakes—the Signature Dark Chocolate Cake and the Vegan Lemon-Raspberry Cake—as footfall at cafés began to pick up following the Phase 2 re-opening of Singapore. The latest, which was added to the line-up just last week is a zucchini-banana bread.

(Related: Does A Gluten-Free Diet Make Sense For You? Read This First)

Says Damien Koh, co-founder and managing director of Joe & Dough: “We started with a small selection and will look to increase the range in time to come so that our customers can enjoy a variety of gluten-free pastries at all our outlets that are already conveniently located to be part of their everyday lives.”

In fact, in response to a growing need for conscious consumers to make a more informed choice, Oh My Goodness developed comprehensive training materials to help Joe & Dough staff at every outlet respond to customer queries efficiently, helping them understand the products—from the chosen ingredients and certifications to relevant health claims—and their importance in today’s market.

“Over the last one to two years, we saw a surge in inquiries and demand for gluten-free food options at our café outlets, regardless of their location,” Koh elaborates, explaining how the soaring demand had inspired them to make such items available on their regular menu without having re-organise their kitchens to avoid gluten cross-contamination.

Finding an external supplier that could match the quality of our existing pastries was challenging but they eventually did. He adds: “From taste to texture, the quality of their products is unlike any of the typical imported mass-produced gluten-free pastries we’ve tried before. They are also not excessively sweet.”

To be sure, the demand for foods that are free from unnatural preservatives or perceived allergens has been on the rise the last few years, feeding a fast-growing global market that Ramya Ragupathi, founder of Oh My Goodness, asserts will be worth billions in the next few years. 

(Related: Ramya Ragupathi, Founder Of Oh My Goodness!, On Living Gluten- And Dairy-Free)

This desire is no longer limited to those with serious health conditions like celiac disease, shares Ragupathi, who is convinced that “agricultural and industrial mass production practices over the last 30 years have resulted in our bodies not being able to digest common foods like wheat and dairy”, thus increasingly making gluten- and dairy-free food options a mainstream requirement.

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At present, though, Joe & Dough is said to be the only local coffee chain in Singapore that readily offers gluten-free cakes in its selection of pastries on display.