Today we’re talking all things candy now that we’re rolling into fall and winter holidays. The candies in the photo along with over 100 other products can be found in our Gluten Free (and allergy Friendly) Guide.
Candy, with all of its pros and cons, is one of those little things that bring joy to just about everyone. Kids love it, adults love it, grandparents love to hand it out 🙂 When you’re living with food allergies, food intolerances, special diets, and other dietary restrictions, it can be really hard to feel included.
Inclusion is Something I’m REALLY Big About
I want to help build a world where everyone is included because isolation is awful. Given my medical condition, it’s been years since I’ve shared a meal with another human. While you do get use to it, it can take a toll on you. As an adult that lives it, I hate the idea of a child experiencing isolation/exclusion regularly.
Given that it’s October, be sure to learn about the Teal Pumpkin Project. Teal is the color for food allergies (like pink for breast cancer). The short of it is: place a teal pumpkin at your door and offer non-food treats for kids with food allergies and other dietary restrictions. It can be bubbles, stickers, little trinket toys, etc. The idea is that as they trick-or-treat with friends and family, they get to have something in their bag too.
Honestly, it’s so inclusive it almost makes you want to cry. There’s even an online registry where you can add your house to a map and food allergy parents can see the best areas to take their kiddos to. What’s really radical is stores like Michael’s and Target are selling teal pumpkins now. Whilst it’s sad to see the diagnosis rate of food allergies go up, it’s awesome to see people come together to make the world a little more inclusive.
Related Product Review: Glee Gum Candy Tarts
What Makes These Brands So Special
First, no weird ingredients. I know there are a few conventional brands that are allergy friendly, but I can’t support the ingredients on principle. In recent years, many have been sued because they continue to use ingredients that are known to cause cancer and other ailments. Second, the equipment these candies are made on is what I’ve focused on.
That’s what makes this photo, and the Gluten Free (and allergy friendly) Guide so special. We called over 400 companies to assemble an interactive guide of products made on clean equipment. I’m a big believer that if you say your food is free-from, it shouldn’t be made on equipment shared with what it’s free from.
Approximately 30% of people with food allergies can’t consume trace amounts of allergens, and need food made on free-from equipment. I’m a firm believer that if you feed the 30, you feed 100.
Allergy Friendly Candy Brands Photoed Today:
- Coracao Confections (contains nuts, exclusive facility, vegan, refined sugar free)
- Pascha Chocolate (top 8 free, vegan, has a corn free option- pure dark 100% chips)
- Enjoy Life Foods (the product is top 8 free, but not all of their facilities are top 8 free, call for each product you’d like to try)
- No Whey Chocolate (top 8 free, vegan, exclusive facility, no artificial dyes)
- Smart Sweets (both vegan and non-vegan options, email for equipment status)
- Torie & Howard (hard candies are made in top 8 free facility)
- Surf Sweets (made and packaged in a top 8 free area of a facility, vegan & non-vegan options)
- Glee Gum (top 8 free, exclusive equipment, soy and corn in the facility, sugar free options)
Additional Brand Not Photoed
- Vermont Nut Free
- Safe Sweets
- Amore di Mona (top 8 free equipment, vegan, cane sugar free, gourmet options)
- Amanda’s Own (top 14 free facility)
- Righteous Cacao (coconut is an ingredient, all other major allergens and tree nuts are excluded)
- Free 2b
I want to mention Yum Earth as well. The brands we generally suggest use free-from equipment. Whilst Yum Earth has some allergens present on their lines, they are very transparent about it (on their website). When you visit their website, go to the FAQ section, then find the allergen portion. It’s not super easy to navigate last I checked, but the info IS there. You’ll be able to see equipment/allergens by product.
I’d also like to call out Blake’s Seed Based. This article is all about candy, however, these guys make a rice crispy treat that could be candy-like? Blake’s is vegan and made in a top 9 free equipment and facility.
Dairy Free White Chocolate (Soy Free Too)
This seems to be all the rage and people are always shocked which cracks me up a bit because it’s been around for years. If nothing else, it highlights the fact that so many GOOD free-from companies just aren’t known. I wish I had the power to change this.
- Pascha Chocolate
- No Whey Chocolate
- Enjoy Life Foods
- Sacred Heart
Each of these brands offer white chocolate, but be sure it’s safe for you. For what it’s worth, the kids prefer regular chocolate.
Additional Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly Treats
If you’re looking for treats that serve as activities, I want to let you know about Little GF Chefs and Pastry Base.
Little GF Chefs as the name implies is gluten free. However, they’re also top 9 allergy free too. They sell food kids (both sweet and savory) that come with just about everything you need for a fun food activity. Their gingerbread house is especially fun during the holidays.
Pastry Base offers mixes and baking kits, including a Valentine’s Day kit. They have a solid allergen statement on their website that currently lets you know that their products may be processed near facilities that store peanuts.
Equipment & Facility
For many of you, shared equipment and trace amounts and “may contain” isn’t an issue. I’m doing a happy dance and I’d ask that you eat delicious food in my honor.
For the rest of you, shared equipment (and sometimes a shared facility) just isn’t an option. For you, I’ve made about 1,000 calls to put together the Gluten Free (and allergy friendly) Guide, The Top 8 Free List, and the Corn Free List.
Knowing what’s safe is half the battle in my opinion. The other half: don’t let the diagnosis get you down. It’s easy to get upset (and rightfully so). Yet, we have to find the strength to carry on, especially if it’s our kids that have the food allergies.
Hopefully this is a good starting point for you. For more safe brands, check out the Gluten Free (and allergy friendly) Guide today.