Recently, a range of new gluten free products were introduced on the local market. We took the opportunity to interview their marketing representative regarding J. Calleja Import & Export Ltd the Company importing these products and the products themselves.
Q. Can you give us some information on your company’s background, when it was established and the range of food items you handle and which GF products you cater for?
A. J. Calleja Import Export was founded in 1961. A family business to this day, the operations consisted in wholesaling products that were imported locally by other agents. The company catered and still caters both for the retail and the catering sector.
Around 8 years ago, the company’s directors decided it was time to differentiate in more ways than one. In fact, they continued the wholesaling side of the business and grew to become the biggest wholesaler in Malta.
On the other hand, they developed their first ever private label brand – 3 Leaves – and started importing brands and representing them in Malta themselves.
Q. When did the Company venture into the GF range of products?
A. The very first gluten free brands J. Calleja Import & Export Ltd imported were way back in 2014. One of these brands is Peak’s Free From which is still thriving locally. The company had the foresight to realise that the health food sector was one which would flourish and it was therefore wise to invest in this sector.
Q. What made the Company go for a specifically labelled product range of GF products?
A. After having represented other GF brands locally, J. Calleja Import & Export became very familiar with the needs of the coeliac community.
The birth of Glutenwise was a natural one once it was clear that there was a lack of quality products in the bread and bakery sector on the market.
We always believed that a truly good gluten free product is one which cannot be easily distinguished from a gluten containing product. This is our criteria for choice. Once we found the right products, it was a matter of organising everything else.
Q. What is the range of products you are importing under your specific label?
A. Glutenwise is a range of gluten free bread and muffins.
The range consists of the following products:
- Traditional sliced bread: White, Brown and Multigrain.
- Artisanal sliced bread: White and Multiseed.
Our customers find this type of bread very similar to the traditional Maltese bread.
- Muffins: Chocolate and Blueberry.
Apart from being gluten free, all the range is also palm oil free and contains no GMOs.
Q. What are your plans for the future; do you intend to extend the range of GF products?
A. Absolutely! Glutenwise is surely a brand we want to expand in time.
The feedback we have been receiving from the end consumers has been fantastic. This makes us realise we are doing things the right way and that it makes sense to continue investing in this private label brand.
As at the end of July, the Glutenwise range is available from the following outlets:
- Arkadia foodstore, Portomaso (St. Julians)
- PAMA (Mosta)
- Chain Supermarket (Fgura)
- Holland & Barrett (All shops)
- Gala Supermarket (Ta’ Xbiex)
- Valyou Supermarket (Naxxar, Mellieha, St. Julians)
- Greens Supermarket (Swieqi)
- Iceland store (Handaq)
- Lasco Supermarket (Zejtun)
- PAVI (Qormi)
- Piscopo cash & carry (St. Paul’s Bay)
- Park Towers Supermarket (St. Julians, Santa Venera)
- Tower Supermarket (Sliema)
- Smart Supermarket (Birkirkara)
- Trolees Supermarket (Qawra)