Skip to main content

Toppits launches gluten-free breaded fish

Research finds that 30 per cent of consumers look for gluten free

Toppits Foods has launched what it is calling a first in Canada: gluten-free breaded fish fillets.

The frozen fillets have just hit store shelves, with Sobeys carrying the line nationwide and Metro and Longo’s stocking it in their Ontario stores. Several independent grocers have also begun carrying the line.

John Mauro, vice-president of sales for Toppits, told Canadian Grocer the products are the result of research that found 30% of consumers now look for gluten-free foods.

Research also found shoppers want gluten-free products that taste good and are of high quality. “There is a misconception that gluten-free tastes like cardboard,” he said.

Development of the line took about a year. Rather than use wheat products in the breading, the fillets are breaded with a mixture of rice flour, rice crumbs, corn flour and potato flour.

Three flavours are available: Black Pepper Cod; Lightly Seasoned Haddock; and Savoury Lemon Sole. Each comes in 400-gram boxes with a retail price of $10.99.

All three products are hand-cut, Mauro said, and carry the Gluten-Free Certification Program seal of the Canadian Celiac Association, as well as the sustainable seafood seal of the Marine Stewardship Council.

Toppits is spreading the word about the new line through store flyers, social media and in-store demos.

Demos are set to run later this month at Sobeys stores in Western Canada. A Twitter party is also scheduled for next Tuesday ( 8 p.m. EST #ToppitsGlutenFree) in which Toppits representatives will share recipes and give away prizes.

Toppits Foods is a fourth-generation, family-owned company that has been in the food business since 1899. It was founded in South Africa, moving to Canada in 1976.

In addition to seafood, the company sells hors d’oeuvres, grilled vegetables and a line of freshly chopped and frozen herbs in cubes called Pop Herbs for cooking.

Heather Gremont, the company’s president and CEO, said initial public reaction to the gluten-free fish fillets has been good.

Toppits operates its own seafood store at the company’s Vaughan, Ont. headquarters and in recent weeks stocked and sampled fillets there. “People who tried it bought several boxes,” she happily reported.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds