Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Plano-based Cookies By Design launches gluten-free line October 1
Gluten-free cookies will come in several flavors including sugar and chocolate chip.
PLANO Plano-based company Cookies By Design is jumping on the latest foodie trend, making sure its gift-wrapped confections are amiable to the gluten-intolerant community. Beginning October 1, the bakery franchise will sell gluten-free cookies in each of its more than 100 locations nationwide, as well as online.
“It’s not a fad, it’s more than that. It’s a hip diet,” said CEO Jack Long, citing the more than 18 million Americans susceptible to gluten allergies. “We wouldn’t be in business if we weren't awake to the opportunity.”
Cookies By Design will offer several gluten-free flavors including its decorated sugar cookies (the icing is always gluten-free), chocolate chip, white chocolate/macadamia nut, and the Millionaire, an “anything you can think of” mix with chocolate and nuts, among other ingredients.
Long said his company has been working on gluten-free recipes for nine months. He wanted to eliminate the cardboard-like flavor characteristic in many gluten-free items, he said, as well as make a product that would hold over several weeks. The biggest issue was cultivating the right texture, but after many blind taste tests, Long believes the flavor is nearly indistinguishable from the original.
“If you didn’t know, you wouldn’t know,” he said.
Aside from satisfying celiac sufferers, Cookies By Design’s gluten-free line contains 50 percent less salt and 10 percent less calories than the original recipes. It’s a “happy coincidence” Long hopes will boost revenue.
“Gluten-free is about a $4 billion market this year, and 46 percent of that is baked goods,” he said. “We could have gone sugar-free first … but gluten-free is a great media thing as well. A lot of Hollywood stars are doing it.”
Each Cookies By Design bakery makes its sugary sweets in-house, however, all gluten-free items will be distributed from its 10,000-square-foot headquarters and gifting center in Plano. A seven-cookie bouquet ranges from $17.99-$55.99. A small premium (10-11% on cookie bouquets and 15-17% on gourmet baskets) will be attached to gluten-free items, Long said. All orders can still be customized, he added.