Monday, January 26, 2009
Whenever I go to a grocery store looking for flour or mixes, I get sick to my stomach when I see the prices. All the time we read about how more of us are getting correctly diagnosed, and our niche market for GF products is growing.
But as demand goes up, supply has to work to meet the demand, and then as supply grows, prices go down....right? I wasn't an economics major, but I think we talked about this in elementary school. So--why when I go to Whole Foods or another store, the lowest price for GF flour is still somewhere around $4 a pound? Do you remember when we ate wheat, and you could get a huge bag of the stuff for 89 cents?
So here's one of my secrets: You can buy flour at INTERNATIONAL GROCERY STORES! Think about the diets of people in other countries. Think of all the places where, for centuries, WHEAT has NOT been a staple. Asian places. Eastern European places. Africa. To name a few.
For example, I like to buy a Polish bag of potato flour, which last time I believe was 1 kg (2.2 lbs) for 2.99, from the International Market in Cary, NC (they were out last time I was there, but the flour worked GREAT in my christmas cookies).
But really, the pot of gold is waiting for you at the Indian Grocery Store. In addition to buying lots of delicious Indian items (instant meals, pappadons, etc.) and giant bags of bulk spices, I buy ENORMOUS bags of Gluten-Free flours.
Please note that many of these are manufactured in facilities that also process wheat (so use them at your own risk). But I think the products are really nice, and I have never had a reaction, bag after bag. Rice flour 4-lb bags are 2.99, or 2 for $5 at the Around the World Market in Cary, NC. So that's less than 75 cents for one pound. (How do you like that, Whole Foods?) Other prices vary. I got Teff--4 lbs for 6.99. Sorgham--4lbs for 4.99, Corn was pretty cheap (2.49), and Millet too.
The rice flour is, in my opinion, FAR superior to many US brands, it is finer and acts much more powdery. Baked goods are finer and don't have that gluten-free flour "grit".
I think our GF manufacturers here in the USA ought to take note that these products are available, and strive to bring their prices down and/or match the quality offered in these products (Hey Bob from the Red Mill, why not take a lesson from Deep Rice flour and grind your Rice flour until it's flour, instead of a sand-like consistency?).
Because my dollars are voting for the products that are serving me, the Gluten Free Consumer, best.