Whole Foods Gluten-free Mix Substitutions

Gluten-Free Naturals Pizza
Gluten-Free Naturals Pizza Crust

The news that Whole Foods decided to discontinue their 365 brand of gluten-free mixes wasn’t very welcomed by people who shop at Whole Foods. Gluten-Free Philly broke the story last week and Twitter was all abuzz about it. The article over at Peanut Allergy offers an interesting comment about the possible over saturation of the gluten-free market. It’s not understandable that mainstream consumers have gluten mixes produced by only three companies and the gluten-free market has over 100. Not all mixes are in all stores, areas or cities and many lines are sold only online. However, in the Atlanta area, we can buy products from almost 30 different gluten-free mix product lines.

We only used the brownie mix from the 365 line regularly, but when I noticed the ingredients in the Whole Foods and Betty Crocker mix were essentially the same, I used the Betty Crocker brownie mix with the instructions from the Whole Foods mix. Actually, instead of using 7 tablespoons of butter, I use 6. The result was that the brownies tasted like the Whole Foods version, but had longer shelf life after they were baked. The Gluten-Free Naturals brownie mix makes a wonderful flaky top brownie, in case you haven’t tried that one yet. 123 Gluten Free also makes an exceptional brownie mix, as does Pamela’s Products.

The Whole Foods gluten-free All-Purpose Baking Mix can easily be replaced with the Gluten-Free Pantry mix since the ingredients in each are white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, guar gum and salt. The ingredients are listed in the exactly same order on both products. Each product “might contain soy” as well. Interesting since the Gluten-Free Pantry line is what Whole Foods corporate is suggesting customers buy instead of the 365 line. Other fabulous baking mixes are the Pancake & Baking mix from Pamela’s and the all purpose flour from Jules Gluten Free.

An exceptional alternative pizza crust to the 365 mix is the one from Gluten-Free Naturals. This dough is the easiest to work with that I’ve found to date, though it’s not a traditional type dough that requires rolling out. The taste of the crust is really excellent – better than some gluten crust mixes. Bob’s Red Mill pizza crust is a good crust that’s fairly healthy due to the bean flour in it. It makes a hearty crust that will stand up to the heaviest toppings you can think to use. Tracy’s Treats make a great pizza crust mix as well and it’s also easy to work with.

There are many great gluten-free cornbread mixes on the market. Again, Gluten-Free Naturals makes a wonderful mix that can be made sweet if desired. It’s good old fashioned cornbread that browns up beautifully in a cast iron skillet (not required for great taste). Pamela’s makes a great Cornbread & Corn Muffin Mix and the Pancake & Baking mix from the line makes a great version as well. The recipe on the Pamela’s website and calls for corn meal, which isn’t always easy to find gluten-free. Several brands are listed in the gluten-free Grocery Guide. Enriched cornmeal will almost always contain gluten in the form of wheat flour.

Tracey's Treats Muffins
Tracey's Treats Muffins

The 365 brand muffin mix can be replaced with the same from Tracy’s Treats, 123 Gluten Free, Island Gluten Free Bakery and Namaste. Good options for bread mixes are Breads by Anna, Gluten-Free Naturals, Island Gluten Free Bakery, Pamela’s Products and Tracy’s Treats. The new Sandwich Bread flour mix from Gluten-Free Naturals makes a killer foccacia bread as well! These brands and tons of others are all listed, along with all their individual gluten-free products, in the Grocery Guide.

Rumors persist that Gluten-free Pantry makes both the Betty Crocker and Whole Foods gluten-free mixes. If true, non disclosure statements would keep the involved parties from discussing it. I asked a Betty Crocker representative who made the mixes for them and my contact told me they did not know. Whole Foods prices tend to be high on most everything labeled gluten-free – except for these mixes that they are now dropping. It might be that there was not enough of a profit margin in the 365 mix line for the giant chain to bother with. Let us know what you think about the decision to drop this product line by Whole Foods. If you use other mixes not listed above, please leave a comment as well.

UPDATE – Press release from King Arthur Flour:

Available March 1 at kingarthurflour.com and soon at food retailers nationwide, King Arthur Flour’s gluten-free line includes GlutenFree Multi-Purpose Flour for scratch baking, along with seven convenience mixes: GlutenFree Bread, Pizza Crust, Cookie, Brownie, Chocolate Cake, Muffin, and Pancake mixes. Suggested retail prices range from $4.99 to $6.99. The new line is supported with recipes for gluten-free baking available at kingarthurflour.com, as well as several additional gluten-free ingredients.

It looks like we’ve really hit the big time now!!!! King Arthur? I can hardly believe my eyes. This is the best news I’ve had on a Monday in a very long time!

32 thoughts on “Whole Foods Gluten-free Mix Substitutions”

  1. I recently found a gluten free bread at the HEB food store in the freezer section of breads. It is O’Doughs. They sell it by the half loaf, full loaf, breakfast buns, hamburger buns, hot dog bums, as well as other items. I have eaten the bread and hamburger buns. It is the softest and freshest I have found in the 10 years I have had Celiac. It doesn’t flake and crumble apart while eating. You can even eat it with out toasting it and it has fantastic taste and texture. I wish more locations would begin to carry this line. The next best bread I have had is Kinnickinnick. I thought it was the best until I found O’Doughs and I’m sold now.

  2. Hi,

    In the article about Whole Foods dropping it’s gluten free mixes, you wrote:

    “I noticed the ingredients in the Whole Foods and Betty Crocker mix were essentially the same, I used the Betty Crocker brownie mix with the instructions from the Whole Foods mix.”

    I never used Whole Foods brownie mix, but I do use the Betty Crocker mix, could you please list the instructions for the Whole Foods mix?

    Thank You

  3. It is sad to see that Whole Foods is discontinuing its line of 365 Gluten Free mixes. I thought these mixes were easy to use and yielded very tasty results. While the other gluten free mixes from Pamela’s, Gluten Free Pantry, Namaste, etc. are delicious — they are also very expensive. The 365 Whole Foods brand was much less pricey. Actually, I have the most delicious results when I bake from scratch. There are more and more reliably good gluten free cookbooks coming onto the market. Some of the recipes are easier to prepare than others. Thanks for your helpful information! I think I will go to Whole Foods right now and see if there 365 Brand products are reduced! Happy cooking!

  4. This is very sad! I guess I understand it, but this is the best bread especially for the money. Come on…don’t take my 365 away!!!

  5. Herb – the WF mix calls for 7 T of butter but I use 6. This makes the brownies very moist but most importantly, for a household with only two people like ours, the brownies don’t go stale for several days. With the Betty Crocker mix made as directed (4 T of butter) they were dry by the next day which meant we ended up throwing some of them out.

    So far we’ve not found any store that is offering the 365 mixes at a discount :(

  6. Prairie Bread, their corn bread, and their cup cakes (which I haven’t seen in the frozen section for months are excellent. If they stop making these staples of my diet, I will not be a happy camper.

  7. I have frozen many gf brownies but did not like the Betty Crocker version that way – regardless of how much better I used in them. I freeze everything else under the sun though 😉

  8. How sad and unfortunate it is that Whole Foods is forgetting about all of us with Celiac Sprue. I’m sure they know that 1 out of every 133 persons have the disease. Yes, there are many other brands available, but many of us have been loyal to all of the Whole Foods gluten free products!!

  9. My all time favorite frozen breads are made by Gillians. (And they recently started selling them at my local grocers.) I really love the Whole Foods frozen ready made pies, biscuits, amd muffins. Please don’t take away my favorite occasional treats.

  10. This is VERY upsetting. I have been waiting for over a year for the new Whole Foods store to open up near me and I was very excited about being able to buy their GF brownie mix without driving an hour or more to the nearest WF store. I really hope they don’t take away their GF frozen sandwich bread. It is the only store bought gf bread my husband will eat and I was really looking forward to not having to bake bread from scratch every week for him. I guess I will have to try the Betty Crocker brownie mix with the new instructions but PLEASE, Whole Foods, don’t take away the bread!

  11. Here’s some great advice a reader named Cathy emailed in…
    The good news is your advice is best: to just buy the Betty Crocker Brands. They are great! I actually add 1/2cup flax seed meal to the brownies and cookies to get more fiber. Then instead of the butter, I use 6-7 tablespoons of olive oil. I have even used 1/2cup of applesauce (to save on fat calories) instead of any butter or oil. They come out more dense and moist and the applesauce replaces the fat.

  12. I just spoke to Whole Foods in Sacramento. Their 365 brand Sandwich Bread Mix is being replaced by one by Glutino. Apparently, they produced the mix for 365 so it should be the same recipe, which is a HUGE relief to me since that mix is a staple in our house! My daughter likes Glutino’s pretzels and frozen pizza so I’m hoping for good things for the mix.

  13. I am very sad to see the loss of the 365 gluten free products. A lot of the gluten free products you’ve mentioned are not available in Canada, so those replacements don’t do a whole lot of good up here.

    I wonder if an influx of emails to whole food might help them sway their decision and bring them back.

  14. Since I live alone, I tend to use most prepared mixes. I have not been very successful baking from scratch. The ingredients tend to go bad before I can use them up, resulting in loss of money and effort. I hope WF does not do away with their gluten free bakery line. I too love the prairie bread and the sandwich bread (used when my grandson comes to visit grandma. He doesn’t know the difference!) There are just too few places to purchase gluten-free without going online. We need to pressure WF to maintain a product line for us!

  15. As far as I know, Whole Foods does not have plans to stop making their prepared gluten-free Bakehouse breads, muffins, etc. It took an article in the Chicago newspaper to get Whole Foods to remove some gluten-free items that were not really gluten-free (manufacturing mistake) from store shelves. To say the company is not easily pressured by consumers is quite an understatement. The new King Arthur mixes will kind of replace the Whole Foods 365 mixes, in addition to the Gluten-Free Pantry line that they already sell.

  16. If you think about it, it’s actually GOOD news that Whole Foods is stopping their 365 line of gf mixes–I’d bet that it’s because Betty Crocker and now King Arthur are coming up with their own, LESS EXPENSIVE mixes. And that is because most celiac websites have lots of discussions about how easy it is to make these things from scratch using a gf all-purpose flour blend.

    They’re finally realizing that they can’t make THAT much money off us, their captive market, any more!

    If you are desperate for gf mixes, you can buy the Betty Crocker ones in bulk at Amazon at a significant discount–it comes out to about $3.99 per box, with free shipping.

    Or you can buy Tom Sawyer or BetterBatter brand gf flours, and just make things from scratch–it takes about 3 minutes longer than opening a box of mix.

  17. I LOVE the tomato soup too…BUT check Campbell’s ingredients – they also use WHEAT as a thickener – if you’re allergic to wheat as some GF people are…ENJOY!!

  18. You write that it isn’t easy to find cornmeal that is gluten-free. I’ve never seen a cornmeal (enriched or otherwise) on the shelves that DOES contain gluten, unless they are not listing it in the ingredients. I use Quaker brand cornmeal, which is available at most grocery stores. One can also now find several Hispanic brands of cornmeal, in greater bulk and cheaper prices.

    Cornbread mixes do contain wheat flour, but cornbread mixes are not the same thing as “enriched cornmeal,” which is cornmeal with vitamins and minerals added, similar to “enriched wheat flour.” I’ve also never seen enriched cornmeal anywhere, but maybe that will be coming soon.

    Could you please specify which brands of corn meal, to your knowledge, do and don’t contain gluten?

  19. Taximom5 – maybe it’s just more common to have enriched self-rising cornmeal that contains gluten in the South. Dixie Lily makes one cornmeal that clearly lists wheat on the bag and their plain cornmeal is gluten-free. That is the only brand I can recall because it’s the one I buy. I’ve only known of wheat to be added to enriched, self-rising cornmeal – not other forms of gluten. Any cornmeals that don’t list wheat on the label are most likely gluten-free.

  20. I’m so sad that the WF 365 brand mixes won’t be available any more. Out of all of the Sandwich bread mixes I’ve tried the 365 brand was my favorite.

  21. Whole Foods used to carry Gluten-free Pantry mixes, but they all disappeared from their shelves at our Pittsburgh, PA store, when they brought in the 365 mixes. Now, they are back, so I guess that means that they really don’t plan to bring back 365 mixes. Two of my children have celiac, as I do, and they eat 365-brand gluten-free pancakes every morning for breakfast. I have been ordering 3 cases of 365 pancake mix at a time, both to save money and to ensure we always have it available. They like Glutino and Gluten-free Pantry brands, so I guess we will have to go back to those, but we went to 365 brand because they were less expensive and tasted the same. Maybe they were the same, from what I have read in other comments! Still, I will miss the lower price as the other brands seem to be more expensive. What would be nice is listing of recipes where we can make our own mix instead of buying the expensive mixes available on the market today. I am disappointed with the price of Betty Crocker mixes and the amount of butter and eggs you use to make 12 cupcakes – as much as you use to make a whole cake with gluten in it. When can we get gluten-free mixes which are priced closer to regular mixes and are not full of fat and cholesterol! I bake my own pizza bread; have a recipe for that which is better than any mix or store-offering we have tried. I use a regular brownie recipe and subsitute with white rice flour. But, I need a good pancake and a good yellow and chocolate cake recipes.

  22. Cynthia – I use mixes for everything I can but I’ll do some recon and post some recipes for the items you mentioned about in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

    Also, I checked my WF to see if the 365 gf mixes were on sale. They were not.

  23. Hi there! Reid here from Whole Food Market’s Global HQ.

    We are so sorry for not jumping in here earlier to provide more accurate information. While it is true that you won’t find Gluten Free Baking Mixes labeled with our 365 brand name, we are transitioning back to the Gluten Free Pantry products that were moved out to make room for the 365 versions. We have worked with the folks at Gluten Free Pantry to deliver the same products at the same size and retail. This is really a label transition and not a discontinuation. You will still have access to the great taste you enjoy today with these gluten free products. We know that the products we sell fill a unique need for gluten-free customers and we are truly sorry we didn’t get out in front of this and explain better earlier. If you have any further questions about this, please feel free to send them to [email protected] and we’ll get some answers for you. Thanks for understanding.

  24. Hi Reid,

    Thanks for the update! This is great news for people who like those mixes. We appreciate you taking time to explain what’s going on with the changes.

  25. Tiffany –

    I received Whole Foods’ statement today as well, and the statement does not make clear whether the GF Pantry mixes and the 365 mixes are one and the same. The way the statement is worded, it isn’t clear whether WF is “transitioning” back to the GF Pantry mixes that were on WF shelves before the 365 mixes were introduced OR is having GF Pantry now make what usedto be the 365 mixes. If in fact the 365 mixes were the same formulations as the GF Pantry mixes then customers’ fears could be allayed. However, WF has not to my knowledge stated one or or the other whether that was the case.

  26. Hi Michael –

    I agree. If non disclosure agreements are in play here, no such statement could be made, correct?

  27. Tiffany –

    If GFPantry and/or WF are still bound by a NDA, then they could not say who manufactured the 365 mixes. Today’s statement leaves open to interpretation whether WF is “transitioning back” to the original GFPantry line. Also not clear is whether the use of the phrase “same products” refers to the original GFPantry products carried at WF pre-365 or instead refers to the discontinued 365 products. Sorry if I’m getting hung up on semantics but I wouldn’t be surprised if the statement is ambiguous by design!

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