Norwitz Notions

Norwitz Notions random header image

What’s Up with French Meadow Bakery?

March 30th, 2008 · by Cyndi · 10 Comments

I make a lot of my food from scratch, but some things are just too difficult. There is a small subset of irreplaceable products…and when they’re gone, I panic.

French Meadow Bakery’s gluten-free tortillas are in that category. I eat them about 5 days a week for lunch (as wraps/burritos). They have two: Healthy Hemp and Women’s. Both are organic, vegan, lowcarb, and high protein. And they taste good too. The Healthy Hemp are also soy-free.

Healthy Hemp Tortilla Wraps

Except that they had two gluten-free tortillas. They are gone.

The problem was quality. They tended to spoil quickly (they shipped them to stores frozen but most stores wouldn’t sell them frozen; they’d put them in the fridge), they stuck together, and they’d sometimes fall apart during use (microwaving worked better than toasting or heating on the stove). I didn’t have these issues (except for spoilage) with the Women’s, just with the Healthy Hemp, but French Meadow told me they got complaints about both.

I emailed them in February, and got this reply:

Subject: Re: What happened to your tortillas!!!?!?!?
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2008 16:57:00 -0500
From: Dingmann, Emily <edingmann@frenchmeadow.com>

Hello Cyndi,
Thank you very much for your feedback, it truly is something we value here at French Meadow Bakery. I am sorry that these were some of your favorite tortillas, unfortunately they were not a top-seller, there were some quality issues and we are coming out with improved tortillas.

We have discontinued the Woman’s Tortilla and Hemp Tortilla but we are currently working on new tortillas:
– Improved Gluten Free Tortilla
– Improved Hemp Tortilla (this will have gluten in it)

These should be out sometime this spring; we are aiming to have them ready at Expo, so hopefully you will have the opportunity to sample our new Gluten Free tortilla.

Please feel free to contact me with any other questions.
Thank you for Supporting French Meadow Bakery,
Emily
Emily Dingmann
Sales Coordinator, French Meadow Bakery
2604 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408
Phone: 612-870-4740 x 17; Fax: 612-870-0907
www.frenchmeadow.com

So I stopped by their booth the other week at Expo West and spoke to them again. The tortillas weren’t ready and there were no samples. It sounded like they hadn’t worked through the reformulations.Unfortunately, they seemed to have no commitment at all to gluten-free. One woman told me that the old tortillas stuck together so they “had to add some wheat.” In the same tone that you might tell someone you added some tapioca starch. I don’t think they realize the market they have. The gluten-free community didn’t really know about their tortillas, but the people I told thought they were great. Yes, the quality suffered and I’m glad they’re fixing it. But adding a bit of wheat means the world to someone who can’t have the slightest trace.

I explained to them that they had the only gluten-free tortilla on the market that wasn’t filled with carbs. Lowcarb tortillas exist but they use wheat gluten. Corn tortillas are easy enough to find, but not everyone can have corn and they have a lot of starch and no protein (and they’re small). There are rice tortillas but they are pure starch and taste horrible too.

I begged them to keep making gluten-free, lowcarb, vegan, organic tortillas. I also explained that, while I can eat soy, a lot of food restricted people can’t, and the Healthy Hemp tortillas were the only alternative for a lot of folks.

So what was their response? they proudly trotted out their new gluten-free products. Cookies and brownies. Oh boy. Don’t they understand that gluten-free cookies are a dime a dozen but real food is what we have trouble finding? Not that some folks won’t appreciate a new source of gluten-free treats, after all, theirs are dairy-free and soy-free too (but contain eggs and aren’t organic).

If you share my opinion of the matter, please contact French Meadow Bakery and politely ask them to reformulate their gluten-free tortillas to continue to be vegan, organic, and low in carbs (and soy-free, if that is important to you). Make sure they know there is a gluten-free customer base that loves their products and wants more.

2604 Lyndale Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
bread@frenchmeadow.com
612-870-4740 or 1-877-No-Yeast
Fax: 612-870-0907

Categories: Breads & Savory Cakes · Food · Food Commentary · Food Product Reviews · Sweets
Tags: · , , , , , ,

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 btp // Apr 14, 2008 at 9:18 am

    Greetings:

    I sent them an email. This was the first product i could make a wrap with that had fiber – as an older person – I do need to watch the carb intake. I thought i had found the perfect product and now it is gone.

  • 2 Heather // Apr 16, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Hi – I ran accross your blog by accident, very cool site. Expo W was so-o-o busy this year, wasn’t it? Anyway, I work with an nice family owned business you might have heard of, La Tortilla Factory – and we have some new Gluten Free wraps that are made from Teff, whole grain, really yummy (and I can eat wheat). don’t get me wrong, I liked those Hemp ones a lot, too! I love sending samples to Gluten Free eaters – let me know if you want to try them! They make awesome quesadillas. Heather

  • 3 admin // Apr 16, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    Hi Heather, I’m 20 minutes south of you (at least of the main office for LTF). I love your products and used to buy the organic lowcarb tortillas by the case until I had to go gluten-free.

    I chatted with either you or your coworkers at your booth this year and have your literature. I know you have some new GF stuff and it’s all going into the blog when I have the time.

    If I remember correctly, you don’t currently have a tortilla that is GF *and* lowcarb. I need both. Teff is lovely but it’s quite carby.

    But, yes, I’d appreciate a sample and I will gladly review it here. We can pick up in Santa Rosa. After Passover is better.

    Thanks,
    Cyndi

  • 4 Natural Products Expo West - March 2008 | Norwitz Notions // Sep 14, 2008 at 11:01 am

    […] * Safer cosmetics * Sharkies Organic Sports Chews * French Meadow Bakery […]

  • 5 Margo // Dec 26, 2008 at 10:38 am

    I formulated the tortillas, and am sad they are gone too. I plan to come out with my own line soon, and am trying to reprioritize my life so I can take it on, it’s a huge project, that I have been through before. Seeing the blogs in regards to the tortilla, warms my heart, and inspires me to try again. They were conceived in my little natural foods store, when customers were looking for wheatfree gluten free, and the only offerings were rice… The polish Mother in me, started to cook, and create…Adding nutrition as I went, trying to provide as much value as possible into the tortilla, hence the well rounded, balanced nutritionals.
    I haven’t talked to anyone about it, as after the deal was done, I moved on in my life. Now that they are gone, I am being called back into service…I just need to aquire resources, and devote myself to the project once more…There are many more products up my sleeve. Looks like I better get busy.

    Happy Holidays ~
    Margo

  • 6 admin // Dec 26, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Margo, how wonderful to get a comment from you. I can’t tell you how much I miss those tortillas. I’m really loving the ones I make from fresh masa but corn is high in carbs and low in protein so I can’t indulge too often. Yours had all the right nutrition and were practical and yummy too.

    Please let me know when your new line is coming out and how to get it. My blog is small but I’ll promote you to the hills and back and I am sure word will travel fast. I go to Expo West every year and would gladly publish an interview, pictures, promos, etc, if you plan to be there.

    Cyndi

  • 7 Margo // Aug 1, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Dear Cyndi, could you please contact me at organicgirls@hotmail.com? I would like to write you.

    Thanks!
    Margo

  • 8 LittleJoe // Feb 21, 2011 at 12:43 am

    French Meadow is now owned by Cargill. No wonder they forgot their commitments to the organic community and pad their ingredients with the stuff nobody wants in their food. Just as bad as when Breyers was taken over by Unilever and is loaded with fillers and additives.

  • 9 Steve Shapiro // Apr 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Hi LittleJoe,

    Just to let you know that the French Meadow Bakery division is not owned by Cargill.

    Also, please check out the Lyndale cafe where we produce organic breads and buns for use on our menu.

  • 10 Cyndi // Apr 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Hi Steve, thanks for the head’s up. Your cafe sounds lovely, though there’s nothing there I can eat. I really miss those lowcarb vegan gluten-free tortillas. It makes me sad that excellent products like that get replaced by “treats.”

    Cyndi

Leave a Comment