Necessity spawns gluten-free pasta lines

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Lauren McLaughlin

When Lauren McLaughlin found out she was allergic to gluten and about 30 other foods, she soon discovered that a lot of gluten-free food wasn’t very good, and some even “legitimately terrible,” she told the Daily Herald.

McLaughlin, who used to make homemade pasta with her grandmother, decided to start her own brand of gluten- and allergen-free pasta. She first sold her pasta at farmers markets and in December opened a retail store, Ugly Noodle, at 2600 Keslinger Road, Suite 15, in Geneva, Illinois.

The store sells fresh, gluten-free pastas, dried pastas and a curated selection of mostly gluten- and allergen-friendly foods. Online sales are also available.

While she’s hoping to hire help soon, McLaughlin has been doing everything herself so far, from ordering, making and packaging the pasta to cleaning up, working the counter and shipping her product.

McLaughlin is also the founder of the Ugly Noodle Community Initiative, which financially assists people living in food deserts with a portion of her sales and donations from customers. The non-profit has partnered with the Chicago Parks Foundation and The Love Fridge Chicago.

“I’m not trying to say I’m gonna save the world with pasta,” she told the Daily Herald. “But I believe food is a right, and not something that you deserve or don’t deserve based on how much money you have.”

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