Lidl is to offer a selection of gluten-free bakery and non-baked items as part of a one-week promotion. 

Gluten-free McVitie’s Hobnobs, Nairn’s Biscuit Breaks, Lovemore cakes and Goodfella’s pizza are among the items that will be sold as part of the ’Gluten Free Week’ push that begins this Thursday.

However, gluten-free bread has not been listed in the retailer’s brochure.

Michelle Berriedale-Johnson, director of the Free-from Food Awards, welcomed the move and suggested it was a sign of Lidl catching up with other retailers.

“Aldi has had a decent, if rather patchy, gluten-free offer for some time,” she told British Baker.

“I suspect that if this goes well, at least some of those products will find a permanent place on their shelves. However, it is a somewhat random selection. Two pizzas and a pesto – but no pasta. And no bread but seven sweet biscuits.

"On the other hand, the prices are very reasonable which is certainly good.”

Brands are increasingly catering for the free-from market, which has grown 34% by value in the past year [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 26 February 2017].

In May, Newburn Bakehouse by Warburtons launched its Tiger Artisan Bloomer exclusively in Sainsbury’s in response to customer demand. This followed Sainsbury’s launching bake-off gluten-free bread in some in-store bakeries in January.

Berriedale-Johnson said a number of gluten-free bakers had “got their heads around making very acceptable artisan bread”.

“What will be interesting is whether bakers will now also react to the increasing demand for dairy/milk and egg-free products – obviously less of an issue with bread than gluten but certainly an issue with cakes, sweet tarts etc.”

British Baker subscribers can download our 2017 report on the free-from market here.