For millions of people in the UK, eating a simple bar of chocolate or indulging in some delicious sweets can mean that they are at risk of an allergic reaction. People who are allergic to peanuts, milk products, sesame, gluten and many other food products can suffer extreme reactions when eating even what to most of us would be an unnoticeable amount of the allergen. |
This presents a challenge for wholesale chocolate suppliers and manufacturers. Producing a product that is 100% free of a specific allergenic substance can be very difficult. Raw ingredients may contain traces of other food substances that can be difficult to identify and remove. Machinery may be used to produce different types of sweets and chocolate with different ingredients.
However, there is huge potential for manufacturers in the untapped market of customers. These are people who are forced to closely scrutinise the labelling on the chocolates and sweets they buy to be sure that their favourite chocolate bar doesn’t contain nuts, soya or the specific ingredient they’re allergic to. Millions of customers with a sweet tooth are crying out for allergy free chocolate.
It’s Getting Better all the Time
Thankfully, wholesale chocolate suppliers and manufacturers are well aware of the problem and are making increasing efforts to make life easier, and sweeter, for those with food allergies.
If you’re a retailer there are some relatively simple steps to take to offer allergy-free confectionery. First find out from your wholesale chocolate supplier what other products their manufacturers make and try to assess how great a risk of cross contamination exists.
You could also get to know your regular customers and help them out when they are trying to decide if a particular product is allergy free. Just be sure that unless the packaging states otherwise, not to guarantee that a specific chocolate bar is gluten free or has no milk products (for example) because you have no control over the production process.
Know Your “E’s”
Every food product we buy contains a list of all its ingredients. The list always goes from the largest to the smallest amount. It may often contain the scientific name of an ingredient and a list of vitamins characterised by the letter “E” and a number. For many customers, this can be double Dutch so make the effort to find out what these ingredients are (in layman’s terms) so you can help your customers out when you see them pouring over a list of indecipherable ingredients.
Many products contain a warning that the product “may contain milk products” and so on. Be aware that, whilst this is a practice that should be encouraged, according to European law, it is not compulsory!
Perhaps ask your wholesale chocolate supplier if they have any influence with the manufacturer and suggest that they consider adding a clear cautionary message on their packaging. In any event, if you see a customer carefully checking the ingredients – give them a helping hand.
All of the above advice also holds true if you’re the customer. If you suffer from a food allergy, know your food and its ingredients. Ask questions, do the research and then sit down to enjoy a mouth-watering bar of allergen free chocolate.
Angelina Moufftard works for hf Chocolates, established wholesale chocolate suppliers with decades of experience supplying sweets and high-end chocolates to retailers across the UK. Working with the most dedicated suppliers from France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, the USA and the UK, hf Chocolates' great tasting and beautifully packaged products add panache to any sweet display.
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