A functional food is a food or ingredient that offers health benefits beyond its traditional purpose. Examples include foods that have been enriched with health-promoting substances such as vitamins, minerals, or Omega-3 fatty acids, or foods from which components, such as sugar, gluten or dairy, have been removed.
Gluten-free and lactose-free foods were originally developed for people with allergies and food intolerances but, these days, more people are seeking to reduce their intake of allergens such as gluten and lactose, and increase their consumption of organic or plant-based foods. Some of us do this to improve our sense of wellbeing, while others are more concerned with the good of the planet. Nowhere is this trend more prevalent than in health- and planet-conscious Sweden.
These are ten of the most innovative gluten-free and lactose-free products made in Sweden today:
Oat drink barista edition, by Oatly
Let’s face it, your soymilk latte, almond milk cappuccino or rice milk flat white has never tasted quite as good as the real thing. Until now, that is. Oatly has developed an oat milk specifically for use in coffee. It foams up nicely and isn’t overly sweet or heavy. No wonder so many professional baristas choose it as their preferred plant-based milk substitute.
Gluten-free cinnamon rolls, by FRIA
Nothing tastes more like Sweden than a warm, sweet, sticky cinnamon roll. Swedes love to innovate so it will come as no surprise that largest, most successful gluten-free bakery in Scandinavia, Fria, has made a gluten-free version of every Swede’s favourite pastry. What’s more, it’s been on the market since 1997, so they’ve had plenty of time to perfect the recipe.
Bean pasta, by Risenta
When asked what they miss most since going gluten free, most coeliacs will respond “pasta”. Risenta’s award-winning bean pasta combines the best of pasta and beans. It is naturally rich in fibre and protein, boasting four times more protein and six times more fibre than traditional wheat pasta, enabling you to feel full for longer. It is completely organic and only takes three to five minutes to cook, yet delivers consistency and flavour that is almost exactly the same as “real” pasta. Win-win.
Creamy oat fraiche, by Oatly
Ever wondered why French food tastes so good? It’s because French chefs use delicious crème fraiche in just about everything they cook. Now Oatly is enabling you to make those rich, creamy French-style sauces with absolutely no dairy. Creamy oat fraiche is a lot like crème fraiche, but uses Swedish oats instead of cream to create a plant-based version of one of the best-loved ingredients in the modern kitchen. In Oatly’s own words, “It’s fraiche, without the crème”.
Gluten-free linseed crispbread, by Semper
Crispbread is a staple of the Swedish diet and now you can get a whole range of different gluten-free crispbreads from Semper. One of the most popular types is the linseed crispbread, which is tasty, thin and delicately flavoured with nutritious linseeds or flax seeds, famous for their powerful heart-healthy, antioxidant qualities.
Keso, lactose-free cottage cheese, by Arla
Who doesn’t love cottage cheese, or Keso, as it’s known in Swedish? In 2012, the sudden popularity of the Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diet caused a peak in demand for cottage cheese, resulting in an unexpected shortage of the grainy, creamy white stuff in supermarkets across Sweden. These days, non-lactose-eating Swedes can still their Keso cravings with new lactose-free cottage cheese from Swedish Arla Foods.
Gluten-free and lactose-free pancakes, by Kungsörnen
On Thursdays, convention dictates that Swedes order pancakes and pea soup for lunch. Now, thanks to Kungsörnen, you don’t have to give up this popular tradition simply because you don’t eat lactose or gluten. Kungsörnen’s gluten-free, lactose-free pancakes are ready made and can be heated in the oven or microwave straight from the freezer.
Gluten-free muffin mix, by Mixwell
Swedes love pastries. In 2010, the average Swede consumed 11.5 kg of baked goods in a year. Aside from staples like cinnamon rolls, Swedes also love American classics like cheesecake and muffins. And now they can make their favourite recipes without the gluten, thanks to gluten-free Swedish bakery Mixwell. Mixwell’s muffin mix is easy to use – just add water and oil and bake until golden brown.
Chocolate oat drink, by Oatly
What child doesn’t love chocolate milk? The answer is probably one who can’t drink milk. This is why Oatly has developed dairy-free chocolate milk. Made from Swedish oats, it has also been enriched with good stuff like calcium and vitamins to help kids grow strong and healthy. As if that wasn’t enough, this milk-free chocolate milk is made from sustainably farmed, ethical chocolate.
Lactose-free chocolate ice-cream with salted caramel, by Alvesta Glass
No Swedish ice-cream producer offers as many lactose-free flavours as Alvesta Glass. Apart from the popular chocolate ice cream with salted caramel sauce, crowd pleasers include raspberry and liquorice, and the “heavenly mix” (himmelsk röra) of butter toffee ice cream with chocolate sauce. Apart from being lactose free, Alvesta Glass’ ice cream is also free from other allergens, including gluten.