Gluten is one of the most consumed proteins on earth, composed of two molecules gliadin and glutenin, it is created when they form a bond and is responsible for the elasticity or chewiness of the foods that contain it. Gluten also traps carbon dioxide, which, as it ferments, this adds volume to a loaf of bread for example. “True gluten” is generally defined as being specific to wheat but gluten it can also be found in some other cereal grains including rye, barley and various crossbreeds.
Some people are gluten-intolerant, meaning that their bodies find it difficult to break down during digestion, it is very rare for someone to actually be allergic to wheat which would generally cause skin, respiratory and / or gastrointestinal reactions to wheat allergens. The most common wheat intolerance is celiac disease, when someone with celiac disease eats gluten it triggers an immune response that damages his or her intestines. A lot of people feel that they have a sensitivity to gluten and choose not to eat it or to limit their consumption of it in their day-to-day diet.
If you have a sensitivity, intolerance or are allergic to gluten it is important that it is avoided. On the mild end of a gluten reaction, people report feeling bloated, sluggish and tired when they have eaten it, on the most severe end the reactions can be life threatening and need urgent medical treatment. Many people believe that our bodies have come to rely too much on gluten and that to cut down consumption of it aids digestion, a side of which can be weight loss.
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms, these are organisms that have had their DNA altered in a way that doesn’t occur naturally. GM foods are developed because they can last longer and their appearance can be made more uniform. GMO’s have not been proven safe and the health and environmental effects of producing GMO crops has not been adequately investigated.
MSG stands for Monosodium Glutamate, it is a flavour enhancer that is widely used in many foods, particularly in ready meals. Many people report to have short term reactions to MSG including headaches, swelling, flushing or sweating, heart palpitations, nausea and chest pains.
Chemicals are used in the majority of food stuffs for a number of reasons either as processing aids or as flavour enhancers, at Hunter Foods there are no chemicals used in the base product although a few of our flavors contain MSG and chemicals that act as regulators. As a company we do not add any chemicals on site and we are working with our flavour suppliers towards removing MSG totally from all our products.
We have always been passionate about providing our customers with good, high quality food and are committed to understanding more about the effects chemicals and ingredients have. As a company we have invested a great deal of time and money into finding natural alternatives and have managed to produce many of our foods without MSG while maintaining a great flavour profile, however there are some that we are still working on that are proving a little trickier. We make sure that they are clearly labelled so that our customers can make an educated decision on what they buy.
Sustainable packaging is defined as packaging that uses sustainable, raw materials in its manufacturing process and includes recycled material as a proportion of the raw materials. We have been very active in the use of sustainable packaging, for example a number of our cartons are manufactured using recycled paper, in addition and a number of our labels use FSC paper (Forest Stewardship Council certified paper that has been sourced in an environmentally-friendly, socially responsible and economically viable manner). In addition we also use vegetable oil based inks in the printing process wherever possible.
We are passionate about the environment and have invested a great deal of time and money exploring alternative to produce sustainable packaging for our products, unfortunately the advances in technology are relatively slow in this area so it is unlikely that we will be able to make all of our packaging from sustainable materials in the near future but we will continue to investigate our options.
The types of potatoes used are varieties specially grown for chipping which have the right characteristics for a good hand cooked crisp. The potatoes have to have a high dry matter, be of optimum size and with shallow eyes that make peeling easier. The natural sugar content has to be very low so when the chips are fried they remain a golden color rather than turning very dark which would be the case if the sugars were high.
Hand cooked chips are cooked in large fryers called kettles, the chips are stirred by our experts on a continuous basis to get them perfectly cooked, they are sliced slightly thicker than regular chips and the slow cooking method along with the manual cooking creates a crunchy, healthier chip with a lower oil content
Regular chips are manufactured using machines where the chips travel along a conveyor into a bath of oil and are held down by submerger belt to cook, the slices are much thinner and the cook time is half of the time compared to hand cooked. Regular chips tend to be crispier but are of a lesser grade and have a much higher oil content.
It is a dehydration process typically used to preserve a perishable material. Freeze-drying works by freezing the material and then reducing the surrounding pressure to allow the frozen water in the material to change from the solid phase to the gas phase.
Flax, also known as linseed, are the seeds of the Flax plant, they are a food and fibre crop predominantly grown in cooler regions of the world.
Although flaxseed contains all sorts of healthy components, it owes its primary healthy reputation to three of them, Omega-3 fatty acids, lignans (powerful antioxidants) and fibre. There are a number of recent studies which indicate that flax may reduce risks of certain cancers as well as cardiovascular disease and lung disease, it lowers cholesterol and improves digestive health so overall is a fantastic edition to a healthy diet.
Ground flaxseed can be sprinkled over porridge, added to bread, muffins or pancakes, mixed with fruit smoothies or protein shakes and stirred into your yogurt for a health boost.
Cacao pods are harvested by hand when they are ripe, the pods are opened and the seeds are left in barrels to ferment. Once fermented they are dried in the sun and then roasted and the outer shells are cracked (a process called winnowing), to leave the central part which is the Cocoa nib (or Cacoa nib as it is sometimes known), the nibs contain the natural acids and fats and are essentially the rawest form of chocolate before further processing and ingredients are added to sweeten them and turn them into chocolate chips or bars. Cocoa nibs have a slightly bitter, nutty flavour and are very high in antioxidants. Their main claim to fame is their high flavonoid content that has been positively linked to preventing cancer and brain ailments such as Alzheimers disease.
Also known as Khorasan wheat or Pharaoh’s wheat, Kamut (which means grain in an ancient Egyptian dialect), is a high-energy grain that was re-established in the late 1960’s by an American farmer, it has since been trademarked to protect the integrity of the grain and any products must comply with a number of strict specifications to carry the name.
Kamut looks much like regular wheat but the kernels can be more than double the size, they also contain 30% more protein, have a high Omega-3 content, elevated levels of vitamin-E, thiamin, riboflavin, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, pantothentic acid, copper and complex carbohydrates so is a very healthy grain! Kamut can generally be eaten by people with gluten sensitivities so it is a fantastic alternative to common wheat.
Wheatgrass is a nutrient-packed member of the cereal grass family, which includes rye, barley and oats. Wheatgrass powder is made by freeze-drying (see above), oven-drying or air-drying fresh wheatgrass. Believed to have originated in ancient Egypt, wheatgrass was brought to America in the 1930’s but was not widely used, it has become a more popular supplement in recent years.
Wheatgrass is linked to improved digestive system function and is also used as treatment for irritable bowel syndrome and acid reflux disease. Wheatgrass is a fantastic source of chlorophyll (Wheatgrass is 70% chlorophyll), which is a potent molecule protecting against liver cancer, reducing damage from cancer-causing substances and combating colon cancer as well as vitamins A, C and E, all potent antioxidants; add your Hunter’s Gourmet Wheatgrass Powder to your fruit smoothies and protein shakes to give your body a serious shot of good health.
Wholegrain oats are naturally energising. Because wholegrain oats are not highly processed it takes a while for our digestive system to break down and absorb the carbohydrates. The result – slow release energy which can help fill you up and stop you feeling the peaks and dips of a blood sugar rush.
Wholegrain oats contain natural vitamins and minerals. Flours can be stripped of their nutrients as part of the refining process, but this doesn’t happen to the oats in our recipes, which are unrefined and minimally processed. Wholegrain oats naturally contain manganese**, phosphorus**, magnesium, zinc, iron, folate, vitamin B6 and thiamine**. These nutrients** are known to efficiently transform the carbohydrates in your food into usable energy. Keeping our oats in their simple, natural form means these vital nutrients are not lost.
Wholegrain oats are high in fibre. Oats are an easy and delicious way to add fibre to your day. Eating your recommended daily intake of fibre can help you maintain a healthy digestive system.
Wholegrain oats are good for your heart. Oats are a rich source of beta-glucans, a rich source of soluble fibre, proven to help reduce cholesterol as part of a healthy, balanced diet. As well as reducing cholesterol, oats can help lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Wholegrain oats are naturally gluten free. Oats are naturally gluten free, so if you have a wheat allergy or intolerance, then our oatcakes and biscuits make a wholesome alternative to bread and biscuits made with flour. If you are following a strict gluten free diet, for example if you are a diagnosed coeliac, then our dedicated gluten free range is best. Our gluten free range is made under strict conditions where the oats are kept separate and every batch is tested, to ensure that no other grains have slipped into the production process at any point.