This past weekend Dayna Davis and I were fortunate to staff two events in Philadelphia for Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery, including a brunch for Northeast bloggers at 10 Arts Bistro & Lounge (located inside The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia) and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’ (NFCA) Appetite for Awareness (A4A) event. A4A is NFCA’s annual food-focused event dedicated to bringing awareness to celiac disease and the gluten-free diet.
At our completely gluten-free brunch, bloggers got to try Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery’s new breads in delicious recipes, including a French toast. Chef Monica Glass, 10 Arts pastry chef who has been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, also spoke to the group about being a chef and not being able to eat gluten. Alice Bast, founder and presidents of NFCA, attended and spoke to the bloggers about the importance of building awareness of celiac disease and the importance of the gluten-free diet.
Following the blogger brunch, Rudi’s participated in A4A by giving away FREE loaves of gluten-free breads to more than 1,500 attendees, and also serving gourmet gluten-free grilled cheese sandwiches and PB&J sandwiches.
Grassroots efforts like these are helping build a dedicated and loyal customer base that will help spread the word nationwide about Rudi’s new gluten-free breads. Currently, the only cure for celiac disease and gluten-intolerances is to eat a completely gluten-free diet. With one in 133 Americans suffering from celiac disease, and millions of others being effected by gluten-intolerances, the gluten-free community has sought refuge online to share recipes, support one another’s health struggles and learn how to enjoy food again. By engaging both online and offline with this community, Rudi’s Gluten-Free is able to demonstrate its genuine support and understanding of what it means to go gluten-free.
Erin Smith of Gluten-Free Fun has posted a blog about her experience with Rudi’s Gluten-Free. Similarly, Paul Biscione of Food Living and Everything Else has become an advocate for Rudi’s Gluten-Free online, making sure we know who is comparing Rudi’s Gluten-Free to its biggest competitor on their blogs.
At A4A we captured countless videos – posted now to YouTube – of attendees expressing their pure joy and appreciation for a gluten-free bread that looks, tastes and feels like regular bread. Many of the people who stopped by our two A4A tables shared their personal experiences living gluten-free, including not having eaten a sandwich in more than 10 years! They were also thrilled to receive a free loaf of bread they could take home to make recipes of their own.
After seeing the success of this event, and our blogger dinner at Root Down in Denver, Rudi’s Gluten-Free is planning to roll out similar events in markets across the country in 2011. Watch out for an event near you!
Bonus videos – Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery enlisted the support of The Healthy Apple’s Amie Valpone to help staff our PB&J Snack Attack at A4A. She shot some additional reactions of attendees trying out Rudi’s Gluten-Free PB&J sandwiches.