Monday, November 23, 2009

Butterball Now Offers Gluten-Free Gravy

While doing research for an article about gluten-free turkeys, I called the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line just to make sure their turkeys were still gluten-free as long as you threw out the gravy packet that comes with their frozen and fresh whole turkeys. Both the fresh and frozen whole turkeys are gluten-free, by the way. They make a stuffed turkey that is not. But the big news is that the Butterball gravy concentrate packets were recently reformulated to be gluten-free! The representative explained that some gluten packets are likely still in the stores so you have to read the ingredient label before using the gravy packet.

It’s my bet that there might be a lot of gluten gravy packets out there and we might have a situation like we did a couple of years ago when Honeybaked Hams changed their glaze to be gluten-free. It took well over six months for all the existing gluten glazed products to be sold. In fact, it was a bit of a PR nightmare for the corporate office. So, please don’t rush out and expect that all the gravy packets that come with some Butterball turkeys are going to be the new gluten-free version. That is likely not the case.

The gluten-free gravy concentrate ingredients include rice flour instead of wheat flour. There is no rye, barley or oats in the new formulation and the company considers it to be gluten-free. But this new gravy item is not available in the old fashioned frozen Butterball turkeys, according to the Turkey Talk-Line representative I spoke to at length about it.

The woman I spoke to made it clear that this new gravy concentrate is only available in some of the Butterball specialty items like Ready to Roast turkeys, ‘Lil Butterball turkeys and whole turkey breasts. You would think the company would include this item in the traditional frozen whole turkeys, but for now they are not doing so – unless the person I spoke to was confused. I let her know that this information is nowhere to be found on the Butterball website, nor is there a press release about it. She explained that this is very new information.

After confirming this information with two other calls to the Turkey Talk-Line, I called Butterball’s Consumer Affairs office as well. The person I spoke to in that department gave me the new gravy ingredients over the phone but I did finally locate them on the Butterball website (with the stuffed turkey ingredients).

NEW Butterball gluten-free gravy ingredients:

Modified Corn Starch, Maltodextrin, Salt, Rice Flour, Cooked Turkey, Onion Powder, Caramel Color (yes, it is gluten-free), Garlic Powder, Spices.

The consumer affairs representative also said that many of the old formulation gravy packets are in stores so we MUST read the ingredient list before consuming any gravy related items from Butterball. Additionally, she told me the new packet is included with the stuffed whole turkeys. That’s right - a gluten turkey with a gluten-free gravy packet. There is a learning curve for companies too when it comes to the gluten-free diet. I give them credit for trying. When I mentioned that they might want to offer the gravy with a whole turkey that is not stuffed, the representative explained that if the response to this gravy is positive, that might be something the company will do later.

I’m familiar with the ‘Lil Butterball turkey but have never seen the Ready-to-Roast version. You can bet I’ll be looking for it on my next trip to the grocery store, even though I don’t care that much for gravy. I just want to check it out because I can. For me it’s kind of like the movie ‘Field of Dreams’ – make gluten-free gravy and they will come!

The Turkey Talk-Line toll free number is 1-800-BUTTERBALL, in case you have questions or just want to thank the company for making gluten-free gravy. I am very thankful that a company like Butterball is paying attention to the gluten-free market and this is the season to give thanks, after all.

If you want to make your own gravy from scratch, you might want to check out the gravy recipe that Kay secretly serves to glutenoids!

by TIFFANY on NOVEMBER 10, 2009

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