Let me just clarify what this is about right away. This is not about who makes the best gluten-free bread.
It’s not about Udi’s partnering with companies who knowingly use practices that endanger those with celiac. That was covered here.
It’s not about Udi’s not being able to get their facts straight or promoting items that can get us sick. That was covered here.
This is about respect for the celiac community (and Udi’s total lack of said respect!) It’s about Udi’s being the so called “leader” in gluten-free foods, dominating the store shelves and then cheating their customers who depend on them. It’s about flat-out lying to the community for years and getting away with it.
But yeah…it does all start with the holes. It’s been going on since at least 2013. I approached them (kindly) back then and they responded with the following:
We have invested in new equipment and have moved to 100% inspection of our loaves. We have also employed stricter ingredient specifications that will avoid excessive holing. The result of these changes should be showing up on shelves now! Do keep in mind that our products can be kept frozen for 6 months so it may take a little while for all loaves to rotate out of circulation.
Mind you…that was 2013. They claimed “100% inspections of their loaves.” Two years later, nothing had changed and it seemed to even get worse. So in 2015, I pinged them again. Here’s how they responded to this one:
We realize that holes have been an ongoing issue for gluten free breads for quite some time, and we understand your frustration. We’ve tried a variety of methods to reduce holes over the past couple of years, including tweaking our formulation, without success. Through extensive research, investment, and a lot of persistence, we’ve identified and recently installed state-of-the-art technology in our production facility to inspect every loaf of bread so that we can pull any loaves with holes. We are still working on getting it up to speed, but we are optimistic about consistently delivering solid loaves to our consumers in the very near future.
So now here we are in 2017 and they are still full of it. They’ve done NOTHING to fix the issue or improve their quality control. They are flat out lying and yet so many in the celiac community still support them. (I know for some, it’s the only choice in their stores. That just sucks…sorry.)
You wanna know how tone deaf they are? I reached out to them on Twitter last week as I was preparing this article. I once again wanted to get their side of things. Here’s how the scintillating conversation went.
Me: Hey there. Seeing that you’re not doing anything to fix the problem of holes in your bread, I will be doing yet another post on it soon. But once again I’d love to have your feedback before I write the post. Thanks.
Udi’s: We’re working hard to fix the issue. Pls email us, at udisglutenfree.com/contact-us.
Me: But you’ve been saying that for four years now. Is there anything else you want to offer up? Thanks.
Udi’s: If you’d like to try Glutino bread, which is our sister company, we’ll be happy to send you some Glutino coupons!
Seriously…what the ever-living hell was that? A bribe? With Glutino bread? Or am I giving them too much credit and it was just ignorance. And by the way, every time someone posts an image of their crappy products on their Facebook page, their canned responses are the pretty much the exact same.
In 2017, it’s “Hey John, our team is dedicated to making delicious foods, and ensuring the highest quality of every product. This is unacceptable and we’d love an opportunity to make it up to you.”[Dude note: Highest quality? Now that’s funny.]
In 2016, it was “Hi Danielle! I am sorry you have gotten loaves like that! I can assure you, we are working hard to fix the hole issue!”[Dude note: Why an exclamation point after the name?]
In 2015? Hi Todd, While bread holes are an unfortunate problem with any brand that makes gluten free bread, we hate to see it in our loaves.[Dude note: Really? Every brand’s gluten-free bread has holes in it? Me thinks not.]
I can go back further but you get the picture.
So why is this such a big deal? (In other words…Dude, get to the point!)
Because they are LYING to and TAKING ADVANTAGE of the very people who depend on them and who keep their business profitable. It seems they don’t give a damn about their customer base and instead of fixing their issues or god forbid making a better product (see pictures below), they simply placate the celiac community by lying to them. It’s costing the community time, money and angst. And in my book, since I’m a community first kind of guy, this simply is not ok.
And I can hear some of you now. “But Dude…let the market dictate whether they fail or succeed.” The problem is they are a HUGE company with unbelievably deep pockets and I’m sure they pay the stores LOTS of money for valuable shelf space. Go into any store that carries gluten-free and you’ll see a lot of Udi’s and (maybe) a little of other company’s products. They own the shelves, which mean they own much of the celiac community. That my friends is a near-monopoly. It’s like that old SNL skit with Lily Tomlin way back when there was just one phone company. She says “We’re the phone company. We don’t care because we don’t have to.” Do yourself a favor and watch the video.
So what can we do about it (assuming you’d like to see a change)? No…not a petition. No…not a march to their headquarters. No…not calling them dirty names (out loud). If you agree with me and you’d like to let Udi’s know that it’s not ok to take advantage of the celiac community, just stop supporting them and buying their products until they get their sh*t together. And let them know you no longer support them. They won’t change things until we hit them where it hurts.
Email them HERE.
Call them at 800-254-3768.
Or hit them up on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/UdisGlutenFreeUS/. Please consider sharing this link on their FB page and Twitter and let them know how you feel.
And finally…cause I know you’re wondering…where the heck are the specific “102 Reasons to Stop Supporting Udi’s”? The following 102 images were all posted on their Facebook page in a span of only 4 months in 2016. Nope…this wasn’t even all of them. Yep…they are just awful.