Coles- Shopping for Gluten-free and Dairy-free Food!

You might know of the 'health food' section at the supermarket. It is a place where gluten-free and dairy-free food items are mostly stocked. Food items found within these aisles are generally made by food manufacturers who specialize in gluten-free and dairy-free products. Centralizing it in one area makes for a very well-organized and efficient shop for people with food allergies and intolerances. 

Though you'll find, when wandering off aisles, plenty of food outside of the 'health food section' that may suit your food allergies. So, are you shop-savvy and know where to find all the gluten-free and dairy-free food items in your local supermarket?

Read this and find out all there is to know about allergy-friendly food shopping at Coles!

This is roughly the layout of Coles supermarket in Port Melbourne. I will skip the obvious, such as fruits and veggies and meat sections, and go right into the belly of the store to explain what you might find in each of the aisles. 

1. Gluten-Free Breads
Coles stock a great range of gluten-free breads. To date, there are: Coles Simply GF Breads and buns, PureBred breads and buns, Genius GF breads, Lichtenstein's GF bread in Soy & Linseed, White and Cinnamon Raisin, Helga's GF breads and Burgen's GF breads in Sunflower and Chia Seeds, and Soy & Linseed.

Favorite products: Coles Simply GF Seeded Hamburger Buns, Lichtenstein's GF bread in Soy & Linseed, Burgen's GF breads in Sunflower and Chia Seed

2. The Health Food Section
The main aisle of which you will find plenty of items for your gluten-free and dairy-free pantry. Here, you will find: cereal, porridge, grains, pasta, chips, gluten-free flours, baking mixes, coconut oil, natural nut butters and dairy-free soy milk and other plant-based milk in tetra packs. 
Orgran Buckwheat Pasta
GF, DF, Rice & Corn Free!

Favorite products: Orgran's Wholegrain Buckwheat Pasta, Cole's Simply Quinoa, Cole's Simply Brown Rice Flour, Vitasoy Soy Milky, PureHarvest Rice Bran Syrup, Kez's Kitchen Almond Crunch Cereal, Dr. Schar cookies and treats!

3.  Ethnic Food Section, Asian & European
This aisle is stocked with foreign imports- from Japanese, Mexico, South-East Asia to Central Europe. It's a place where Mexican corn tortillas is in line with Japanese ume-plum sauces, opposite Indian papadums.

Though these items might not be 'GF' stamped by Australian standards, you will find that, upon reading the ingredients, plenty of food found in this section are indeed gluten-free and dairy-free.

Come here to find exotic ingredients for your gluten-free and dairy-free cooking.

Favorite products: coconut milk, coconut cream, rice flour, chickpea flour (aka besan flour), chilli sauce, sesame oil, brown rice, nori seaweed sheets, rice noodles. 

GF Chicken Stock
4. Sauces
Gluten-free sauces are split between the 'health food' section and this aisle. Here you will find a small number of gluten-free soy sauces, sesame oil, chili sauces, mayonnaise and tomato sauce. You would need to read the ingredients to find out which ones are gluten free. 

5. Soups, Stocks and Spices
In this aisle, take care to read the ingredients thoroughly. You won't believe the number of soups and stocks which I found to contain wheat starch!

Even within a brand, there are inconsistencies of which products contain wheat or not. For example, Campbell's Vegetable Stock and Chicken Stock are gluten-free, but the Beef Stock contains wheat. I strongly recommend having a look through the ingredients to make sure that you are getting the safe-to-eat product. 

6 &7. Canned Beans, Canned Fish & Other Non-Perishables
This aisle is self-explanatory. The rows are shelfed with canned tuna, canned salmon, sardines etc. Further along would be canned tomatoes and canned beans. Lastly, you would find jars of pickles and olives. 

8. Nut Butter, Jams and other Spreadables
There are plenty of safe-to-eat items in this section. I have yet found peanut butters, jams or marmalade with gluten in them.

For Aussies who can't live without the salty black tar (aka Vegemite), head back to the 'health food' section to find Freedom Food's version of Vegemite. Freedom Food's Vege Spread is gluten-free whereas conventional brands, such as Vegemite and Marmite, contain barley. 

Favorite products: PureHarvest Coco2 Coconut & Cocoa Spread, Mayver's Super Spread and Kraft 100% Natural Peanut Butter.

9. Baking

All of the baking-related supplies can be found in this aisle, including dried fruits, nuts and nut meals. While gluten-free flours are exclusively located in the 'health food' section, you can find supplementary ingredients for your baking needs here.

You can find almond meal, dairy-free dark baking chocolate, vanilla extract, shredded coconut, yeast, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and rice flour. Additionally, there are gluten-free DIY baking mixes by conventional brands, such as Betty Crocker. 

Favorite products: McKenzie's GF Baking Powder and Plaistowe Dark Cooking Chocolate (Dairy-free).

10. Chips
Potato chips! Rice Crackers! Similar to the Soup and Stock section, read the ingredients thoroughly to ensure that the seasonings do not contain gluten. I have come across Salt and Vinegar chips that have wheat starch as one of the ingredients. What a stresser! Better to stick to plain ones or perhaps opt for a celery stick. 

Product Alert!!!
Gluten-free and Dairy-free Croissants!
Just kidding. Have your chips in moderate amounts, and you get to enjoy the best of both: satiating your appetite for something salty and crunchy while being okay with yourself for not overdoing it.

11. Freezer Goods
There's a whole freezer section dedicated for healthy, alternative and gluten-free food. Here, you will find frozen gluten-free pastry shells, croissants, breads, burritos, chicken fingers, lasagna, savoury and sweet pies, pizzas and veggie burgers

Favorite products: Genius GF Croissants, Frozen berries

12. Soymilk, Vegan Butter and Such
This last section stocks odds and ends of food items that complete a decent gluten-free and dairy-free pantry. These would be soymilk, vegan butter and margarine, coconut yogurt and tofu, etc.

Favorite products: Vitasoy Soymilky and Nuttelex Vegan Butter.

That sums up a tour of Coles supermarket for gluten-free and dairy-free, allergy-friendly grocery shopping. I hope you know your way around this supermarket now and be able to locate your favorite food with little hassle!