Gluten-free. Annoying fad or here to stay? That was the question I posted on our Facebook page the other day. I didn’t get a ton of responses but of the few I did receive, most where of the opinion that it’s here to stay.
Now, I understand that even those that don’t suffer from celiac disease could very well benefit from a diet lower in gluten. Simply put, we probably do eat too much of the stuff. But just because something isn’t necessarily the best thing to eat on a daily basis, does that mean restaurants should give up valuable menu real estate in order to accommodate the latest food trend? After all, some 70% of people would like healthier restaurant menu options yet only 10% actually order them. It doesn’t take reading too many statistics like that before even the most successful restauranteur takes a wait-and-see approach to the latest diet fads.
Another problem with jumping on the latest food fad is product quality. The problem with most gluten-free products is that they suck. Sure, people talk themselves into how good certain gluten-free products are but the truth of the matter is, gluten is actually pretty good. You can’t taste the stuff but gluten is what gives baked good their texture, elasticity and chew. It’s also what allows you to store your favorite breads, cakes and buns without them turning into inedible hockey pucks. Basically, gluten serves a very good purpose and trying to bake without it is easier said than done.
The good news for gluten-free fanatics is that this latest food fad appears to have legs. Bakeries have put resources behind gluten-free offerings and, I must say, of the few gluten-free products I’ve tried, most weren’t all that bad. As good as their gluten laden counterparts? Absolutely not but if I HAD to avoid gluten they’d be an acceptable alternative.
Here at Joe’s Burgers we’ve been taste testing various gluten-free buns. Suffice it to say, we serve more burgers than anything else so putting a gluten-free bun option on our menu would be huge and if I can believe customer comments, a welcome addition to our offerings. Yes, we’ve always offered a lettuce wrap for those avoiding baked goods for whatever reason but not everyone likes their burgers wedged between two layers of iceberg. Sometimes, gluten or not, you just want your burger served on a bun.