Thursday , 20 February 2020
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Dear Udi’s: We Deserve Better

Dear Udi’s: We Deserve Better

Dude note: I’ll be sprinkling pics of Udi’s bread throughout this post. All pictures were taken directly from Udi’s Facebook page in the past 30 days. Keep reading past each pic.

If it seems I’ve been laying it a bit heavy on Udi’s lately, well…I’m not gonna argue. And I know some of my fellow celiacs kinda wish I would leave them alone. But honestly, all I’m trying to do is help them, which in turn will help us.

Why am I giving them a hard time? 3 reasons.

1) They DOMINATE the gluten-free market, making it more difficult for the smaller brands to get seen.

2) Because of reason 1 (see above in case you’ve forgotten already), I think they have a responsibility to the gluten-free community.

3) Because of reason 2 (see above in case…oh never mind), I think they are failing in that responsibility. Big time. And we deserve better. Much, much better.

udi's bread

But this is not an Udi’s bashing post. I don’t need you to take action. Unless by action, you mean stop buying their products until they get their sh*t together, than I’m all for it.

Let me take this back a few years; April 15, 2013 to be exact. I wrote a post about the holes in Udi’s bread. The good folks at Udi’s were kind enough to respond when I asked “What are you doing to ensure that none of your future loaves of bread will have these holes?” Here is what they said:

“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.”

Cool. Aware of the problem. Taking care of it. Problem solved.

Or so we thought.

udi's breadudi's bread

I mean, correct me if I’m wrong…but I don’t think this is supposed to happen (unless it’s a Halloween mask).

udi's bread

And even after seeing a few of these new pictures, I still wasn’t going to do an Udi’s post.

But then, fate intervened. I had dinner at a friend’s house last weekend and they made burgers. She got me the only rolls that were available at the store. Yep…Udi’s.

I went in with high hopes. It didn’t take long for those hopes to completely fall to pieces…literally.

udi's bread

You can see on the left they were cracking right out of the bag. After a few bites, it turned into the picture on the right. On the bright side, they tasted like absolute crap.

So I decided to do a post about them. But before I got around to it, I got a message on Facebook from a fellow celiac begging me to leave Udi’s alone. Not because they loved Udi’s or because it’s not lame that so much of their bread has craters in it. But because it’s pretty much the only brand available to her and she does not want them to go out of business.

Now…as much as I’d like to think Udi’s gives two craps what I have to say, they are run by Boulder Brands, a huge and quite profitable company. Me? I’m just a wee blogger.

But STILL, something just wasn’t sitting right with me. I didn’t like the fact that two years later, the problem is worse than ever. And I didn’t like the fact that they simply kept giving the same canned response to anyone who complained on Facebook.

“I am so sorry to see that your loaf had holes in it – definitely not the quality we expect from our products. Please send my coworker a note at the following link and she’ll follow-up with you and provide you with a replacement coupon.”

Every response. The exact same. (And what’s with the “coworker”?)

udi's bread

So I decided to go ahead with the post.

But FIRST, I wanted to give Udi’s a heads up that I’d be blogging about their church bread (holey…get it??). So I called Boulder Brands on Tuesday and spoke to customer relations. She listened and said she would have their marketing department call me same day. Crickets. 24 hours went by.

So I sent them a DM on Twitter, repeating that I’d like to get their side before my post so it’s not like a Michael Moore documentary and both sides are actually presented. Finally, someone called me an hour ago.

udi's bread

They wanted to discuss the issue with me…so they offered to fly me out to Denver asap, get a behind the scenes look and shoot a video. Seriously. But then I got flashbacks to my Cheerios trip and since I still wake up screaming in the middle of the night, I kindly declined the invite.

I said “Look…I’m writing a post tomorrow. Send me an email explaining 1) why this is still happening after all this time; and 2) how can not only the machines produce such holes, but how does bread like this possibly get through quality control. That’s all I would like to know.”

udi's bread

Then she asked me what quality control was. Just kidding. She said she would have an email sent shortly.

So now…I am going to take a break while I await their email.

Here…look at some pretty pictures while we wait.

udi's breadudi's breadudi's bread

Hey. How I’ve missed you. Just heard back from the VP/GM of Udi’s (fyi…I’m the CEO, CMO, CTO and CFO of this blog) and here is their official statement.

“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 there you have it. They are working on it. Very similar to how they were two years ago. Take it for what it is. I’m sure they want the problem fixed as much as you do.

udi's breadudi's bread

But until then…we deserve better. So I ask you to support some of the smaller companies; companies that put their heart and soul (and money) into making the best damn gluten-free products as possible.

I’m talking about companies like Jennifer’s Way. Like the one and only GF Jules. Like Canyon Bakehouse. Like Jakes Gluten Free Market.

These are good people who make great products and they deserve our business. And as a bonus, I have coupons to all of their products right here.

As always…thanks for listening. That goes for you too Udi’s. I seriously hope you straighten things out sooner than later.

In the meantime…we want something else! Tell ‘em Hawkeye.

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