Asda is the first supermarket to sign up to Coeliac UK’s gluten-free campaign. 

The charity aims to improve the availability of gluten-free food in UK stores, and other leading supermarkets - Waitrose, Tesco and Marks & Spencer - have also made ‘significant progress’ in meeting the Gluten-Free Guarantee.

The campaign, launched earlier this year, asked that supermarkets commit to having eight core gluten-free items in stock for coeliacs to better manage their disease. The items are white bread, pasta, cereal, flour, cereal bars, rolls, crackers and one other bread (brown or seeded).

Asda is the first supermarket to fully commit, with all stores across the country taking part.

Sarah Sleet, chief executive, said: “In a recent survey about shopping habits 74% of Coeliac UK members who responded said they have to visit more than one supermarket to complete their free-from shopping. For that reason we are thrilled Asda has confirmed its commitment by guaranteeing customers will be able to buy the eight staple gluten-free items in each of its stores whatever the size of the store.

“Things have improved beyond recognition in the last few years in larger supermarkets, but many will be surprised that, for most people, shopping for gluten-free items is still a real challenge - especially if they only have access to smaller convenience stores. For this reason we are very pleased to see other leading supermarkets are also working towards the Gluten-Free Guarantee.”

From 22 September Waitrose will add the items to its Welcome Break service station outlets and therefore be fully compliant; from October all 917 Tesco Extras, Superstores and Metros will stock a minimum of one variant of each item; and Marks & Spencer will offer six of the eight by the end of 2014 in all 500 stores excluding franchised stores.