local bakeries see a greater demand for gluten free baked goods

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COLUMBIA – Several mid-Missouri bakeries have added gluten-free items to their menus for people to buy this holiday season.

“There's more people just asking for gluten-free products so I started making some of these cheesecakes and a couple extra gluten-free deserts,” said Helena Shih, owner of U Knead Sweets on Cherry Street.

Since opening in 2012, U Knead Sweets has begun selling a variety of gluten-free products to meet the growing demand. It’s not the only bakery that has done so.

Becky Stephenson, owner of Becky’s Cupcakes & More in Jefferson City, said she has also noticed the trend and modified her menu accordingly.

In terms of gluten-free options, Stephenson said, “We do cupcakes, cakes, cookies. I haven’t figured out how to do cinnamon rolls. I’m still trying to work that one out.”

The demand for gluten-free food extends far beyond bakery goods, according to Cassie McClellan, a registered dietitian.

“We have a whole gluten-free aisle here at Hy-Vee in the health market, and it just keeps expanding. We keep getting more and more gluten-free products,” said McClellan.

McClellan said although some people think a gluten-free diet will make them lose weight or feel better, she warned it’s not healthy for those who don’t have problems with gluten.