So. Gluten free bread. What on earth am I thinking about rating a dry and frankly gross product. That is because that dry and frankly gross product is my reality. I am gluten-free. Wow, that was tough to say. It comes with a lot of stigmas. Am I doing it the way Kourtney Kardashian is doing it in that it is completely unnecessary or am I celiac? I am neither I am just really really painfully intolerant. For many years this was my go-to fav bread until the GF industry stepped up its game and made some actually nice bread. Schar is the main company I use and the main brand sold in the UK for GF products. With there being little competition from other specialist companies are they pushing themselves to be environmentally friendly? That is my question! Let’s have a look.
Ingredients: Corn starch, water, corn flour, rice flour, psyllium seed husk (vegetable fibre), dextrose, modified cellulose, soy protein, sunflower oil, yeast, salt, tartaric acid, citric acid. Contains: Soy
So with the ingredients, I enjoyed how little there was actually in it I half expected a ten-tonne of chemicals and plastic as this stuff doesn’t go off for months unless it's opened! The only ingredient that left me unsure was soy as it is linked often to monoculture and deforestation for plantations of pure soy which can be dangerous for so many different reasons including, loss of diversity. So I went on the company website to see if there was any mention of sustainability on their page and how they are moving to create a livable future. I WAS SHOCKED. I love it. But I had to check was this just greenwashing. So they have a page dedicated to their sustainability initiatives but how are they changing what it is made of to make it more sustainable. Well, their packaging is the first GF bread to be packaged in certified recyclable plastic. I live for this and pray in the future more companies follow in their footsteps as all it takes is one company to plant the idea and expectations. Ok wow, it only gets better. When I looked at what the bread is made from Schar’s beliefs on sustainability begin at the core. They only grow grains where they would naturally thrive, they are constantly trying and experimenting with local farmers to get the perfect water and nutrients for the grains, they place cultivation sites near mills where possible so that there is less transport and less of the attached pollution. I loved all this it seemed like they thought of everything. They do however use palm oil at times, but it is certified palm oil and they offer alternatives with no palm oil using an accumulation of different oils such as sunflower and vegetable oil. I didn’t love the presence of palm oil but if they were to use it this is exactly how I would like a company to deal with it and give alternatives for consumers to avoid it and using certified palm oil sources is very responsible of the company. However, would hope that in the future with their ability to produce alternatively that they would completely eradicate its presence altogether. That for the future I hope. Their website talks of continued plans to reduce plastic and continue using recyclable materials throughout the company which is promising and for me seems genuine as they are already considering the environment within their production process. I love their consideration for the environment in the materials they use but they do still use palm oil and soy and so I give them a 2.3. They do however have complete transparency in which country every grain is grown which I appreciate as well.
So obviously the way in which these products are made has to be completely secure in that there is no gluten whatsoever present. They do this through regular testing of every material, including packaging that comes through the doors of the factories. They continue to invest a lot to ensure that the process is faultless to protect consumers but I did struggle to find out more than that about the production process and sustainability. Most of the information was focused on how the production process is securely gluten-free. I did appreciate this level of care for consumers because celiacs do have to be incredibly cautious of what they eat to avoid pain and discomfort and more and Schar seems to really appreciate this and care about the well-being of their consumers within the production process which I greatly respect. Much of the production process occurs in Europe with the acknowledgement of the environmental effects of transportation which is another refreshing positive. IT is just hard to find information about how it is made that isn’t reassuring consumers about hygiene and GF security. This is not a criticism because this is so important to the consumers of the product. However, I did then find a 41-page booklet from Schar about their commitments to people, our products and the planet. It was long and I couldn’t read it all but even the introduction seemed to genuinely care about their consumers and their opinions and they seem to really care about the environment too. They appear to prioritize good relations with their suppliers and producers which is essential too. I fell in love with their story and commitment. Being a family-run business originating in the Alps. They seem to have a full view of the climate crisis, tackling it and internally investigating their own company from every aspect of production. They make sure every plant and facility is using the optimum amount of energy and water to ensure little waste. Each facility is certified and they are constantly looking for new ways to improve the sustainability of their plants. They are trying to increase the amount of renewable energy and resources that they use which is also very good. They are constantly trying to reduce waste as well within production and in the use of their product. They have forward-thinking views and aims and they seem to be trying to achieve them as well! This was so refreshing to see and I loved the transparency. I would however like to see just a bit more evidence of it as it is dangerously close to looking like it is all just talk. But I love their ethos and commitment so I give them a 2.5
So Schar. I have been really answering who makes it throughout this review. I really like this company if I am honest. They seem to have so much care for their consumers who have sometimes complex dietary requirements. They are striving to create more and more initiatives to become more sustainable in their use of renewables, packaging and cutting down on transport pollution. They do use palm oil at times which is questionable but they deal with it in a constructive matter by providing the option to avoid palm oil and using certified palm oil in products that are unavoidable. They are also involved within the cocoa industry as they strive to make it more sustainable with regard to workers and the environment. This is a company that really seems to care. Their price point is average for GF at least which never really comes cheap it's £2 for 4 rolls. I would love to see the GF community lower their prices and make it more accessible to all because it is often a necessity for people to avoid gluten and it can be hard with such high prices. With regards to employees. Not a whole lot of information but there is that classic corporate talk on their page with interviews of people saying they love their job. If they do is another question though. But no big organisations or structures in place that I can see but also nothing terrible that I can see. So I guess a positive! Not great but also defo not the worst I have seen in the market so I also respect that from Schar. They are not perfect but they are making the moves forward to hopefully be and they have a respectable level of transparency which is crucial for a company dealing with allergies but also is just an honourable quality! I will continue to buy their products and make sure to check they are free of palm oil but I feel confident buying from them still. I give them 2.6 planets.