Coborn’s, Inc., a grocery retailer with more than 8,000 employees and 54 supermarkets across the Upper Midwest operating under the Coborn’s, Cash Wise Foods, Save-A-Lot and Marketplace Foods banners, has opened a gluten-free bakery to supply its supermarkets. The facility is located on the company’s corporate campus across from the company’s central bakery, and has begun making 20 specialty bakery items that will be marked with the G Free Bakery label.

“More and more of our store guests have been asking for fresh gluten-free bakery items, as more people today have gluten allergies than ever before or are simply changing their diets,” said Dennis Host, vice-president of marketing at Coborn’s. “It is challenging to find products that are not frozen. We set out to work on a plan to build a gluten-free scratch bakery that is completely separate from our central bake shop, and we’re excited to introduce this new product line-up to meet the needs of our guests.”

Coborn’s said it partnered with Jackson, Mich.-based Dawn Foods, which is NSF certified, to test production and recipes. The initial 20 products are muffins, hotdog and hamburger buns, sliced white bread, cupcakes, cakes, bars, cookies and brownies. Additional items will be added into the mix, including sugared cake donuts that will be available beginning in September.

“The integrity of our products for our guests is of utmost priority; that’s why we invested in a brand new space and all new equipment,” said Kim Kockler, manager of food safety and nutrition. “Whether our guests choose gluten-free treats by choice or necessity, we appreciate the peace of mind in knowing that those who select our products can trust the integrity of what we’re offering.”

The company invested in additional safeguards to ensure its gluten-free claim holds true. All ingredients entering the bakery and finished products exiting the bakery are tested to confirm the absence of gluten.

Coborn’s said the G Free Bakery has begun the gluten-free certification process through the Gluten Free Certification Organization. Although certification is not required, Coborn’s said it is pursuing it, a procedure that will take at least four months from the application date. As part of the certification process, the bakery tests all of its finished products to ensure they meet the 20 parts per million guideline set by the Food and Drug Administration.

A two-minute video tour of the gluten-free facility is available by clicking here.