Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pamela's Products Marks 21 Years of Gluten-Free Decadence

Pamela's Products, an award-winning leader in the gluten-free foods arena, turns 21 this year. With more than 30 nationally distributed products, Pamela's has developed a large following devoted to their line of gourmet FAST, EASY & DELICIOUS baking mixes and decadent packaged cookies. President and Founder Pamela Giusto-Sorrells always believed that natural foods can and should taste great. And for all who need--or increasingly, desire to follow a gluten-free (GF) diet, she has provided a wide range of decadent options. As good as and better than wheat-based products, Pamela's proves 'gluten-free' never means 'boring.'

"My grandparents were in the natural food business in 1940 and actually made awful tasting, gluten-free products," says Pamela. "By the 1970s, my father and uncle had still made no changes to the original recipes. I just didn't think it was fair that this was as good as it got if you needed to eat wheat-free. I couldn't stand the thought that little allergic kids had only my father's cookies to eat!"

Pamela was baffled that 'health food' seemed to be synonymous with "dry and tasteless," and that having a food allergy meant giving up decadent foods. So in 1988 she founded her company on the opposite premise, that wheat-free and gluten-free foods can taste great and that "everyone should have food delicious enough to celebrate." Pamela's Products has since had a far-reaching impact on the gluten-free food market and the Natural Foods Industry, including consistently holding the #1 position in the entire Natural Foods category for both their Baking & Pancake Mix and their Chocolate Brownie Mix, according to SPINScan Data (2007 report, awaiting 2008). According to this report, Pamela's was also the #1 selling Gluten-Free Cookie, and one of the leading companies overall in the Cookie Category.

Pamela's Products mixes are simple to use and versatile. Each package of her baking mixes comes with a variety of recipes. People can also easily experiment to create their own 'signature' breads and desserts. "I really want to see where people will go with my mixes. For example, using the Gluten-Free Bread Mix, people have made everything from pretzels and crusts to seasonal breads, mixing in herbs or seeds, satisfying all different palates. It makes for exciting experimentation," encourages Pamela. Pamela's Products posts new recipes on line and in their monthly newsletter. They also host an annual recipe competition.

Pamela's Products are a tried-and-true staple for Celiacs. Celiac Disease is the world's most common autoimmune disease, with the only treatment today being a strict adherence to a diet devoid of gluten. Gluten is most commonly contained in wheat (durum, semolina, kamut, spelt), rye, barley and triticale. (For more complete information, please visit, "About".) People with autism spectrum disorders, cancer, wheat allergies, alternative diets, and even those adhering to a Kosher or 'natural' diet, also frequently turn to Pamela's Products for satisfying that sweet tooth or simply for making bread or pancakes.

But according to Pamela's sales information, the majority of buyers are not buying because of the need to follow a gluten-free diet. Many are discovering that they simple feel better when they eat gluten-free, and that has created an entirely new consumer. Stephanie Robbins, Director of Marketing for the company notes that they get "tons of emails and mail" from these new consumers saying they simply feel "more satisfied by food," "less bloated or groggy", and have more energy. They credit the gluten-free diet--including Pamela's Products--for their overall better feeling of health.

Notably, what Pamela's Products have inspired is a very strong community of devoted eaters and creative bakers, who alternate between sharing their enthusiasm for the company's products, and enjoying not telling people that the goodies they are gobbling are gluten-free and healthy, because it's simply that difficult to tell the difference. One of Robbins' all time favorite Recipe Contest entries is from a non-GF woman with a GF friend. The non-GF woman created a signature flan cake recipe. The GF woman requested her GF friend make the flan cake for her for a party but using Pamela's Product's Classic Vanilla Cake Mix for the base, instead of her regular, high-end mix. The flan cake was such a hit that the non-GF woman made it for herself and now only uses the Pamela's mix. Her Flan Cake also won in the Pamela's Products 2007 Greatest Gluten-free Recipe Contest.

The company has many additional ways to connect and encourage their community, from the lively and enthusiastic Marion who travels around the country baking and doing tasting events, to offering free goods for Cupcake Baking Parties (which encourages donations to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness). It is this strong word-of-mouth that has been, and will continue to be--through every current method of communication--a big part of Pamela's first 21 years of success. But word-of-mouth only comes as a result of staying true to one's mission, in this case, GREAT TASTING healthier eating.

Pamela's Products offers a complete line of Traditional Cookies, Organic Cookies, Biscotti, Simplebites Mini Cookies and Baking Mixes. Award-winning, Pamela's Products can be found in natural food and grocery stores throughout North America and on the web at Setting the standard for great taste since 1988, Pamela's Products continues to create the most delicious wheat-free and gluten-free foods, with their Baking & Pancake Mix and Chocolate Brownie Mix consistently holding the #1 position in the entire Natural Foods category.

1 comment:

sharon said...

~Hi there I was reading someones blog on another site linking your site it mentions a dog range of food - my dog has epilepsy and Id like to try an alternative diet, can you help please