Welcome to the world of sambal! We've been cooking up nut-, gluten- and milk-free foods for nearly a decade here in beautiful County Durham. Our team of chefs and nutritionists are creative and allergen-savvy: they know which ingredients are safe, and how to combine them to create delicious meals you can trust. After all, food is one of life's great pleasures - but we know you can't enjoy anything until you're 100% confident it's safe.
And from this springs our mission: to create delicious, colourful, deeply flavoursome foods that our customers can trust, to make them accessible and convenient, and to spread the word about eating for wellness to the wider community.
At ilumi, we've created our range of foods based on two simple principles: top-notch cooking, and expert knowledge about allergens. When you add in our modern and efficient packaging, the final result is a perfect fusion of pleasure, wellbeing and convenience for you to savour.
So how are we different? First, simplicity.
We cook all our meals ourselves - from scratch - and package them here as well. We don't outsource or have a complicated global supply chain: what leaves here was made here, not assembled elsewhere. We use the best quality ingredients from British suppliers, so we know exactly where everything comes from. And because we only deliver direct to your door we can be confident every step is safe. This simplicity and traceability is designed to give you peace of mind, so you can focus on enjoying the flavour.
Creativity in the kitchen
When we asked, you told us you were downright bored with 'free-from' foods that were, first and foremost, free from flavour! So we decided to change all that by getting creative, and focusing on what we can put into our recipes, rather than what we have to take out: things like creamy coconut milk, zingy coriander, rich tomato ragu, and lusciously reduced sauces full of meaty flavour. Rather than trying to engineer allergen-free versions of 'the real thing,' we create delicious dishes which are naturally safe for people with food allergies.
Modern convenience for busy, healthy lifestyles
And last but not least, we aim to make our meals a truly convenient part of your modern lifestyle. That's why you'll find our dishes in a range of pouch and pack sizes to suit everything from work lunches to after-school snacks to main meals, and our packaging lets you eat them at home, in the office, or on the move - just about anywhere, really. Our sauces make scratch cooking easy; and our gravies ensure the whole family can be easily catered for!
At ilumi, our absolute guiding principle is to make food that tastes great for everyone to enjoy. Nut-, gluten- and milk- free shouldn't mean free from taste - and with ilumi, it doesn't.
To accomplish this, we craft our recipes by focusing on what delicious flavours go in, not what has to be taken out. Taking away compromises the taste, which we don't allow! We make everything from scratch in our own kitchens, controlling the entire process to make it allergy-safe. And lastly, we cook our meals in modern space-saving pouches in a pressure cooker to naturally preserve all those fabulous flavours (which also conveniently means they don't need refrigeration).
So whether you're eating at home or out and about, and whatever your taste preference, we've got something delicious for you to try.
ilumi tastes amazing by anyone's standards
All our ilumi recipes are carefully crafted to be that little bit "more" - more creative, more flavoursome and more like what you'd like to cook yourself (or order in a restaurant!) From aromatic Thai tom kha gai soup, fragrant with coconut and lemongrass, to a peppercorn and shallot reduction that turns a plain steak into something special, our dishes make eating allergen-free an absolute pleasure.
We achieve this by sourcing our ingredients carefully, not just so they're guaranteed allergen-free, but also to capture the best and freshest flavours. Then we cook them from scratch in our bespoke kitchens, just as you would do at home - though on a slightly larger scale! We package our dishes carefully and then gently steam them in the pouch until everything's cooked to perfection (top chefs do this, too - it's called sous-vide cooking, and it's a fabulous way to keep flavours and moisture in the food where they belong!)
When you open an ilumi meal, all you need to do is heat it and enjoy our fabulous flavours with confidence. That's what we think allergen-free eating should be all about!
Creative cooking at its best
At ilumi, we take our own, slightly different approach to allergy-free cooking. Instead of focusing on what we need to leave out to make a dish safe, we focus on what delicious ingredients we can put in. (We're positive like that.
For instance, lots of people like a nice curry, but popular curries like Korma often contain gluten, milk proteins and nuts. We didn't go to artificial lengths to create a pseudo-Korma, though. Instead, we ventured a bit further afield, to southern India, and found a recipe for Kerala chicken curry that simply doesn't need these ingredients; instead, it uses coconut milk and delicate spices to create an authentic, creamy, aromatic dish the whole family can enjoy (and believe us, these meals are definitely delicious enough for everyone to share!)
Something for every taste
Here at ilumi, we love food, and we enjoy eating recipes from all over the world. So we developed our range based on serving different tastes. From traditional British casseroles to aromatic Thai soups and from creamy south Indian curries to Italian classics, we have something for everyone.
Our gravies are a convenient accompaniment to the Sunday roast, and our sauces are great for adding to a speedy mid-week stir-fry. For a warming lunchtime bite or a lighter dinner, we have a range of flavoursome soups.
We've also got dishes perfect for a quick last-minute meal, like our Beef Meatballs in Tomato Sauce or Lamb Rogan Josh; just add some rice and you've got a complete meal in minutes.
Remember those old "anytime, anywhere" ads? Well, we recognise the importance of the convenience factor in modern living. Our products don't require refrigeration, because we prepare them in a sealed environment (it also means they don't need unnecessary preservatives: a double win!). This makes it simple to enjoy ilumi when you're at home or when you're out: at work, on holiday, wherever the mood takes you.
Food is one of life's great pleasures, but you can only truly enjoy your meal if you're totally confident that it is safe for you to eat. At ilumi, we go to unprecedented lengths to give you this confidence.
We create all our own recipes, using only the ingredients needed to make them taste great, with no unnecessary additives. We carefully source every ingredient from trusted and tested suppliers, and we make all our meals in our own purpose-built, high-quality kitchens. Our highly trained and experienced team tastes and tests every batch we make before we deliver it to your door for you to enjoy.
We've been safely making food this way for nearly a decade, but don't take our word for it: the British Retail Consortium audits us every year, and we hold their highest level of accreditation.
Our allergen promise is that all of our ilumi recipes will be completely free of gluten, nuts and milk. We make all our food ourselves, and control every stage of the process so that we don't need to rely on anyone else to keep this promise to you.
On top of that, we take extra care to tell you exactly what is contained in each and every one of our dishes. If it's not on the label, it's not in our food - guaranteed (in fact, we're so keen on this that we're the first food brand to put the back-of-pack information on the front!)
Our ingredients come only from our 'short list' of tested and approved suppliers, and they are all handled only on special production lines which are never used to make products containing gluten, nuts or milk.
Everyone who works at ilumi follows a strict set of rules designed to prevent any cross-contamination of our food by allergens. We meticulously clean each and every piece of prep and cooking equipment after every batch, and use swab tests to confirm that it is free of any allergens before we start cooking the next batch.
After our food is cooked, we taste and test each and every recipe to make sure it is free from gluten, milk and nuts.
In other words, we're totally confident in making our allergen promise to you, because our safety and testing procedures are second to none. We know how important it is to feel secure in what you're eating, and we take that trust very seriously here at ilumi.
Many people have told us that despite their expectations, being diagnosed with a food allergy can actually be a positive thing. When you begin to pay attention to what you eat, you develop a relationship with food that goes beyond just nourishment or pleasure - instead, food becomes a path to wellbeing in mind as well as body. Which is exactly what we believe here at ilumi, and the reason we take such care with the dishes we create.
If you've had symptoms of food allergy or intolerance for a while, you'll already know why you need to avoid the allergens that are making you unwell. This might be a simple change, or it could mean a whole revamp of your diet and your lifestyle. We're here to help with dedicated, expert advice.
Expert advice at your fingertips
Janet Aylott, PhD RNutr is ilumi's on-staff nutritionist, and we count on her to help us develop recipes that are nutritionally sound as well as delicious and allergen-free.
We're not about to keep her expertise to ourselves, though! We know how confusing the world of food allergies and intolerances can be, so we've asked Janet to create a resource centre to give you reliable, evidence-based information about your allergy as well as some great tips on living a fulfilling allergen-free life. We hope Janet's articles will help give you some extra insight into what gluten-free and allergen-free can mean for you. Here's what she's written so far; watch this space for more articles!
Is allergen-free even possible? Here's what the allergen-free label means - and what it doesn't.
How do you follow a gluten-free diet, and do you need to be a diagnosed coeliac to benefit from it?
What to look for on food labels, and how new legislation is making it easier to identify allergens (finally!)
Peanuts aren't actually nuts at all - they're legumes. But many of us are allergic either to them or the nuts that grow on trees. Here's what you need to know about this potentially life-threatening allergy.
One in five of us will have the symptoms at some point, and it can come and go. Do you know how to tell if you're affected?
There are 14 allergens that need to be highlighted on food labels, by law. Here's a list of them, and how we control for them at ilumi.