By Amy McCandlish, Assistant Local Marketing Manager

Coeliac disease is such a painful and debilitating disease and, even though it’s estimated that it affects 1 in every 100 people, I didn’t really know what it was until my son became unwell at the end of last year.

So I’m so pleased we’re announcing a new partnership between our Free From brand and Coeliac UK during 2021 and 2022. We’ll support the charity throughout a range of runs across the UK including the London Marathon, the Great Manchester run and even Santa Fun Runs, helping Coeliac UK to raise vital funds for their research projects, campaign and raise awareness and provide ongoing support to their members.

In December 2020, my three-year-old became very unwell. At first we thought it was just a virus but his symptoms persisted, including vomiting every couple of days, poor appetite, withdrawn and lethargic with little interest in playing, long periods of diarrhoea, complaining daily that his neck was choking him and losing weight to the point he began to look quite thin and unwell. Finally, in February this year after several trips to the GP, hospital and blood tests, my son was diagnosed as having coeliac disease. The diagnosis came as a relief as I’d feared something far more serious, but also a surprise as I didn’t know anyone else with the condition. The coeliac consultant recommended that my daughters, myself and my partner be tested as coeliac disease often runs in families, which led to us discovering that my eldest daughter and partner also have the condition. 

Coeliac disease is a condition where the immune system attacks its own tissues when eating gluten. This damages the gut, leaving sufferers unable to take in nutrients. It can cause a range of symptoms ranging from gastrointestinal problems to more serious conditions such as neurological issues and cancer. The only known treatment is a strict life-long gluten-free diet

Since February I’ve been on a journey to understand more about coeliac disease and identify what products are available from local food stores that don’t contain gluten, including Barley, Rye, Oats or Wheat (BROW), some of which are branded Free From and some which aren’t but don’t contain any of the offending ingredients. At Co-op, our Free From brand makes sure coeliac customers can enjoy delicious gluten free food with peace of mind. We have a dedicated Free From range in every Co-op store so you’ll always find something delicious to eat including award winning products like our Free From tiffin bar and our best-selling Free From seeded loaf. Our ever growing Free From range includes everyday essentials, on-the-go snacks, baked goods and deliciously indulgent foods from our Irresistible range. 

But it doesn’t stop there – we have lots of gluten free products across the store, look out for the Gluten Free logo on all Co-op own brand products. 

Think you might be suffering from Coeliac disease? Take Coeliac UK’s online assessment

For more information and support on Coeliac disease visit

Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. I’m sorry to hear about your son being unwell and I hope you are starting to get to grips of it all as a family… it can be challenging!

    My wife was diagnosed with coeliac in Jan 2020 and I know she enjoys a good number of the products within our free from range and we both appreciate the logo on products around the store that are safe for coeliac sufferers!

    As others have said, there is always more that can be done – meal deals in particular, but pass on my thanks to everyone involved in making more people aware of coeliac, widening the range and linking in with Coeliac UK! Keep up the good work 🙂

  2. As a Coeliac, would be great if GF options could be included on meal deals etc when applicable 🙂

  3. It would be great to see more variety in our free from range but also promote these items often, make customers more aware of what we can offer

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