From Christmas cake and mince pies to truffles and gingerbread kits, our expanded festive Free From range is full of tasty treats. Laura Williams, our Free From Buyer, writes about some of the new additions.
We’ve got some exciting new Free From products for the festive period to cater for more people – and we’ve introduced some amazing new premium products with the addition of the Extra Special tier into the category.
It all started earlier this year, when we trialled an Extra Special Free From Easter Egg. They went down really well and we got lots of great feedback from customers on what great quality they were, so we thought it made sense to do the same for some of our Christmas products.
Our Extra Special Christmas Cake is gluten, dairy and wheat free – and tastes amazing! It’s really moist and nice to eat. We’ve used a similar decoration on this version as the regular cake – which recently won the BBC Good Food Christmas Taste Test in the Christmas Cake category.
The Extra Special Free From Truffle Selection is one of my favourites this year. A customer on Instagram spotted that, as well as being gluten, wheat and dairy free, they’re also suitable for vegans:
Found in Asda!! VEGAN TRUFFLES! Salted caramel, vanilla, dark chocolate and orange & strawberry and white chocolate! 😍😍 #vegan #vegansnacks #vegansofinstagram #govegan #whatveganseat #whatfatveganseat #veganshare #veganfood #veganchocolate #truffles #chocolate #dairyfree #veganfoodporn #veganfoodshare #asda #freefrom #veganeats #vegantreats #veganism #veganfoodlovers
Our social media team picked it up and posted it on Facebook. I was overwhelmed by the response – it got loads of reactions, shares and comments and lots of people tagging their friends to buy them. They make a great gift, or are perfect to just have in the house for guests over the festive period.
We’ve added a gateau to the Extra Special range too, it’s the first time we’ve put a frozen product into the Christmas Free From range so that’s pretty exciting. The Chocolate and Salted Caramel Layered Gateau has chocolate sponge, cream and salted caramel sauce, and it’s hand-finished with a sticky-sweet glaze and chocolate plaque. It’s very good (even though I say so myself)!
I really like the Free From mince pies as well. They’ve just been named as a ‘Best Buy’ in a Which? Survey. They’re made with three different blends of flours to get the perfect texture and quality and they’re gluten, wheat and dairy free. We’ve had some really good feedback – the Independent did a mince pie taste test and said:
"Asda’s take on mince pies might be the cheapest of the bunch, but that doesn’t mean they lack flavour. The sugar-dusted rice flour pastry was substantial and not overly flaky. Packed with a generous helping of mincemeat, they were a pretty convincing alternative. We applaud Asda for providing a great budget offering, which comes in at just over 60p more than the regular version. If you’re counting the pennies, this is the option for you."
I’ve seen lots of good feedback online about our ranges as I try to stay up to speed with what bloggers and customers are talking about. I’ve already seen lots of people posting about our new Roddy the Reindeer chocolate cake. It’s a gluten and dairy free version of our regular Roddy Reindeer cake, and it’s the same price at £6 for both.
We’ve also made some product improvements – our Chocolate Yule Log is now gluten and dairy free and part of the Extra Special range, our 100g Christmas Pudding is now matured for six months, we’ve added a drop of brandy to give it a festive kick, and we’ve added the all-butter gluten-free shortbread selection box to the Extra Special range.
We've steppend on from last year's Gingerbread House by creating a Gingerbread Christmas Tree Kit instead. It’s fun for kids and adults – you can either do the 3D trees or create cute cup hangers that rest on the side of your mug – very Instagrammable!
We tend to focus on making products gluten and wheat free, and we always try to make them dairy free where we can. If it doesn’t affect taste we’ll always try to get as many ‘free froms’ as possible – I know that when people have just been diagnosed they’re told to avoid other allergens as well.
We’re already thinking about next year’s Christmas range, looking at what’s in the market and what’s selling well in the core range. I definitely think we’ll be keeping favourites like the Yule Log and Iced Christmas Cake and we hope to see lots of new launches, so watch this space!
Find out what customers and bloggers have been saying about our Free From range here.