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FreeFromm Foods matter frei von free from food awards

Michelle Berriedale-Johnson on how “free from” started in the UK!

FreeFrom Foods matter – how “free from” started in the UK!

How did you start your own free from initiative “FreeFrom matters”?

Very originally, when there was absolutely nothing in the market, I started manufacturing “free from” foods. This was back in 1990 when nobody really thought about “free from”.

Then I started a newsletter which turned into a magazine addressing health professionals. I wanted to bring food intolerances to the attention of doctors, dieticians, alternative practitioners, complementary practitioners, pharmacists etc., because it was not really recognized. Then I realized that it was going to take a long time to persuade health professionals and that our efforts would be better spent supporting the patients so we moved to a patient subscription magazine. We also had a tiny website but in the 1990 the internet was far from being as popular as today!

By 2008 things had changed and the internet was huge, so we finally stopped the magazine and concentrated on the website. The topics we cover are food allergy and intolerance, celiac disease, skin diseases, free from products, raw foods, free from recipes and supplements. At about the same time, we started the FreeFrom Food Awards and in the following years we also developed awards for restaurants, the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards and skin products, the FreeFrom Skincare Awards.  

FreeFrom matters is also testing “free from” products …

People are very interested in new “free from” products. This is why one section of the site is devoted to new foods. We also do product reviews and we have a running news feed on new “free from” products. In addition we have big directories of all the manufacturers in all the different areas. There is also a FreeFrom matters newsletter.

Another feature is Dr. Janice Joneja’s consultation on histamine intolerance which is very popular. We are just turning her articles into an e-book and are planning the same for our more than 800 “free from” recipes. .

So you initiated the free from food trend in the UK?

We started very early and there was not too much going on for many years, but this has changed now. The UK now has a very active “free from” blogger scene, just as the US. Many of them are judges in our award juries.

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