New gluten-free food range wins first major order with sales set to rocket 
  • Posted 3 years ago


Growing appetite for tasty gluten-free range created by local hotelier

A new range of Northern Ireland-produced gluten-free foods, under the band name Rule of Crumb (  is now available in one of the province’s oldest independent butchers in Ballymena, with plans to roll out the brand province-wide in the next fortnight.

Rule of Crumb was developed by Ballycastle hotelier, Colum McLornan, who was Inspired by a determination to create a better deal for Coeliacs after witnessing a close friend suffer the consequences of Coeliac gluten-intolerance. Colum is now a self-proclaimed visionary for ‘Gluten Freedom’ on a mission to creating a better future for Coeliacs sufferers in the UK by raising both awareness and quality of food and choice

Rule of Crumb offers better quality taste without compromising on health standards through Gluten-free products and hygienically efficient individual portion packaging to minimise cross-contamination, along with training and guidance for food industry and catering staff.

The Rule of Crumb creator says such is the appetite for the gluten-free range, another 12 independent local butchers in Belfast and Ballymena will be stocking the products in a matter of weeks. Meanwhile, negotiations are ongoing with major food distributors in Britain and the Republic of Ireland to supply Rule of Crumb products to supermarkets.

Colum McLornan, who identified the undeniable demand for gluten-free solutions when he began stocking gluten-free bread at his hotel, says this first deal is one of many: “Barrs Butchers in Ballymena is the first independent butchers in Northern Ireland to stock Rule of Crumb gluten-free products. Now their customers can buy our gluten-free chicken products, including Chicken Gougons, Chicken Kiev and Chicken Maryland. We are currently in talks with major distributors to supply the gluten-free brand to butchers and supermarkets in Great Britain and Ireland.”

Michael Surgenor, Manager at Barrs Butchers in Ballymena, said: “Our butchery business was established in 1878 so it is well-known for its quality and choice in the Ballymena area. The demand for gluten-free products is definitely there and Rule of Crumb has already become a very popular choice. We chose to stock Rule of Crumb chicken products because they are frozen which means they have a longer shelf life than a fresh product. Gluten-free foods are a speciality product. Not every customer who comes into our shop will be Coeliac (gluten intolerant) so it makes sense for us to keep frozen products. We have already sold lots of Rule of Crumb products in our first week of putting them out on the shelves.”

Colum added: “It is important that Rule of Crumb is stocked by a quality outlet such as Barrs Butchers who have shown a very forward-thinking attitude to stocking our gluten-free range.

The Rule of Crumb founder anticipates substantial growth for the brand with plans to supply the quality range – which includes a gluten-free muffin specially developed for coffee shops – to hotels and restaurants in the near future.

Gluten-free food is one of the fastest growing sectors in the food market, where one in 10 people suffer food allergies with over five million Coeliacs in the UK.

Colum is now leading the charge for ‘gluten freedom’ by creating the tasty new food range which meets the highest food standards, and is BRC (British Retail Consortium) accredited: “I have projected Rule of Crumb’s turnover to increase by 50% over the next six months such is the demand for this niche product.”

He pointed out a recent EU ruling has created an opportunity for Rule of Crumb: “If you own a restaurant and want to offer gluten-free foods on the menu, the current situation is that you have to make them yourself but we can save that hassle by supplying the products.”

The new Rule of Crumb product range includes the breaded chicken range, breaded fish, part-baked bread rolls as well as specially developed single portion breakfast cereals and individually-wrapped part-baked bread rolls.

Colum explains: “It is crucial for Coeliacs that there is no cross contamination in the production line with any ingredients containing gluten which is why I developed individually wrapped bread rolls. These are part-baked and finished in the oven, then served in their wrapper so the consumer can rest assured it is safe for them to eat. Likewise, breakfast cereals are individual portions to reassure the consumer of the products gluten-free credentials.”

Colum adds: “We need a revolution in tackling intolerant food and thinking that leads to unnecessary suffering or lack of freedom of choice for Coeliac sufferers.

“We want Rule of Crumb to become the true champion for ‘Gluten-free Freedom’ to create a better future for Coeliacs, to be free from fear of illness, enjoy more choice and better tasting food by raising standards in food and hygiene.

“We don’t just have to address Coeliac intolerant food but also thinking as well.”