If there is one undoubtedly good thing about the world of today, it’s the fact that the awareness of many issues is getting higher and higher. This applies to Celiac disease as well.
Food manufacturers understand the problems that gluten causes and the reasons people want to avoid it. Naturally, they have started coming up with ways to keep their products available and attractive to everybody. Their desire to stay competitive works nicely for consumers as well.
If you’re a parent of a kid with Celiac disease, you know the heartbreak of having to deny your child the very thing you adored when you were their age. If you’re a grown-up patient, you know the devastation of denying yourself one of the smallest but most delightful pleasures of life – candy.
If you’ve ever met anyone who claimed that they didn’t like any type of candy, they’re probably aliens and you should beware. Even if you don’t like chocolate, you’ll like cookies. If not, then gummy bears. But everyone enjoys some kind of candy – and you’ll need a comprehensive list of gluten free candies if you are to make the best of holidays and birthdays.
A word of caution, though – always check the label. This list will give you a general overview, but the ingredients and the manner of production can change any time. Besides, if the same company produces candy in two factories, one of them may be producing gluten-free candy, while the other may not. The fact is that you won’t know for sure until you’ve checked the label.
Hershey’s boasts an impressive list of gluten-free products. The complete list comprises about 150 products, and some of the most popular are:
- Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kisses, Special Dark Kisses, Filled Chocolate Kisses (but not all flavors, so be careful);
- All Mounds;
- Almond Joy (but not Almond Joy Pieces candy);
- Hershey’s Nuggets (again, not all flavors, so make sure you read the label);
- Hershey’s Hugs.
There are many others as well, but don’t just assume that all Hershey’s products are gluten-free. Their list may be a bit tricky too, because many products have similar names, which can cause confusion. Still, they list their ingredients and shared equipment on the label, so as long as you read it carefully, you’re good to go.
The company tests the products they produce and labels them gluten-free if they find less than 20 parts per million of gluten. Products with the label are the following:
- Butterfinger (fun size, singles, and share pack only);
- Nips, Goobers, and Raisinets;
- Toll House morsels and chunks (but not all of them – read the label).
There are other Nestle products that don’t contain gluten ingredients, but the company doesn’t label them as gluten-free for fear of cross-contamination. Some of those are:
- Oh Henry!;
- Milk Chocolate;
- Baby Ruth;
- Wonka Pixy Stix.
The good thing is that Nestle is one of the most transparent companies in this regard. Their labels are very clear, and there is little chance of confusion. Any products that have no gluten ingredients, but are produced in a factory that also processes gluten, are not on this list.
Mars, Incorporated is the company that also produces Snickers, Dove, M&M’s, and others. They do not have a list of gluten-free products. You’ll need to read the label. On the bright side, they’ll usually list the ingredients in plain English, so any wheat, rye, and barley should be very easy to spot.
Here is a list of their products that in general don’t contain gluten ingredients.
- M&M’s (but not all flavors. Be especially careful with seasonal flavors, and always read the label before purchase)
- 3 Musketeers
- Milky Way Midnight and Caramel (but not the original)
- Dove Chocolate products (depending on the flavor)
None of the other products are gluten-free, but that doesn’t mean that those listed above are always safe. Make sure you consider every purchase carefully.
Here is some good news for the fans: Tootsie Roll Industries have stated that all their products, except Andes cookies, are gluten-free. They claim to use corn and soy, instead of gluten-rich ingredients.
- Tootsie Rolls and Fruit Rolls;
- Junior Mints;
- Dots and Tropical Dots;
- Cella’s Milk and Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries;
- And many others.
The company also mentions that gluten-free products don’t contain nuts and peanuts, which makes them great for people with allergies.
If you enjoy Smarties, you’re in luck – almost all of their products are safe to eat. Not only are they gluten-free and vegan, but they are also produced in gluten-free facilities, significantly lowering the chances of cross-contamination.
The only exception is Smarties Gummies, which are made in a place where they also process wheat. In addition, many of their products from Canada contain wheat, so make sure to read the label carefully before you buy anything.
One problem that can occur with Smarties is that they sell their products to re-baggers. Because of that, the re-bagger is the only one who can verify that the place they use to repack the goods does not allow a chance for cross-contamination. To be on the safe side, you can check the UPC number on the packaging. If it starts with 0 11206, you’ll know that it comes from one of Smarties’ facilities. In that case, it’s almost certainly gluten-free.
6. Jelly Belly
If Jelly Belly beans are your guilty pleasure, you can breathe a sigh of relief – they’re all gluten-free. They are also vegan. They offer other gluten-free products as well, such as licorice-flavored beans and candy corn.
As for their other products, such as Chocolate Malt Balls and Licorice Pastels, they are not gluten-free.
The Last Bite
Even though people with Celiac disease are still restricted by their illness, the situation is not all that gloomy. Sure, you have to be careful all the time, but in the end, you can come home with a big bag of candy from the supermarket and drown your day-to-day stress and sorrow in the sweet pleasure that is Snickers bars. Still, mind this list of gluten free candies and don’t forget to read the labels – just in case.