Monday, March 19, 2012

Allergy-Free Easter Candy Round-Up

by Kelley Lindberg

Last week, I posted some links to good online sources for allergy-free Easter candy. This week, I hit a few local stores to see what’s available. I focused on Easter-specific chocolate bunnies, eggs, jelly beans, and similar treats. I hit Sam’s Club, Smith’s and Target this year. Most of the products I found are national brands, so chances are good you may find the same products at your local stores.

Just remember to always check the ingredients – some companies use different manufacturing plants around the country, so the same product may have different factory warnings. In addition, some varieties of candy may have safe versions or sizes, and unsafe versions and sizes. For example, I found Cadbury mini eggs that are nut-free, but the larger sizes had nut warnings. So always double-check!

And if you are trying to avoid candy completely (a great idea for everyone, allergies or not!), you might want to see my post from last year, which offers lots of ideas for non-food Easter Egg and basket ideas. See the post here: Creative Easter Egg Fillers.

For nut-free and egg-free chocolate bunnies, your best bet is Hershey’s. I found several Hershey’s chocolate bunnies at Target (including Speedy Bunny, Princess Bunny, Snapsy Snap-apart Bunny) and a package of 6 Hershey’s solid chocolate bunnies (but avoid the package of 6 “cookies and cream” flavored Hershey’s bunnies, because they have a nut warning). Some flavors of Hershey’s kisses are also nut-free, as well as Hershey’s mini foil-wrapped chocolate eggs. But double-check labels – many Hershey’s products have nut warnings, so don’t assume they’re safe until you check. And remember, all Hershey’s chocolate includes milk and soy. Those Cadbury mini eggs contain milk, soy, and corn, but they’re nut-free (I found them at Smiths and Target). If you need milk-free chocolate bunnies, your best bet is probably to order them online (see last week’s post for websites), and order this week so they’ll arrive in time for Easter.

For the rest of the candy I found, I focused on candy whose labels don’t list any of the Top 8 allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish).

If you need to avoid corn as well as the Top 8, I found these options:
  • Pixy Stix (Target bag of 35 for $1)
  • Charms Fluffy Stuff Cotton Candy (Smith’s $1)
  • Wonka Springtime Fun Dips (Smith’s 16 pouches for $3.49)
The following options contain corn, but appear to be free from the Top 8:
  • LifeSavers Jelly Beans (Smith’s $2.49, Target $2.19)
  • Mike & Ike Jelly Beans (Smith’s $2.39)
  • Wonka Spree Jelly Beans (Smith’s $2.39)
  • Wonka Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans (Smith’s $2.39, Target 2 for $4)
  • Wonka SweeTart Jelly Beans (Smith’s $2.39)
  • Wonka SweeTart Jelly Beans – orange beans in a carrot-shaped bag (Smith’s $2.39)
  • Starburst Jelly Beans (Smith’s $2.49, Target 2 for $4)
  • Starburst Crazy Beans (Smith’s $2.49, Target 2 for $4)
  • Jolly Rancher Jelly Beans (Target 2 for $4)
  • Kroger’s Jelly Beans (Smith’s $1)
  • Push Pop Toppers (with cute Easter figures on top) (Smith’s $1)
  • Hubba Bubba Cluckers (Windup chicken that walks and lays bubble gum eggs) (Smith’s $2.39)
  • Individual Plastic Eggs with Swedish Fish, Skittles, or Starbursts (Target 5 for $5)
  • LifeSavers Gummies Bunnies, Chicks, & Eggs (Target 2 for $4)
  • Rainblo Bubble Gum Eggs (Target 2 for $4)
  • LifeSavers Hard Candy Spring Mix (Target 2 for $4)
  • Swedish Fish (Target 2 for $4)
  • Daily Chef Gourmet Jelly Beans, 41 flavors (Sam’s Club 4 lbs for $10.98)
If you’re a fan of Jelly Belly jelly beans, check out the Daily Chef Gourmet Jelly Beans from Sam’s Club. They have 41 flavors, and advertise that the beans are free from nuts, peanuts, dairy, egg, soy, gluten, trans fat, gelatin, and high fructose corn syrup (although they do contain regular corn syrup). You also get twice as many for the same price as Jelly Bellys.

Also, Sam’s Club has premade Easter Baskets filled with a few toys, and some candy, like Mike & Ikes, Fun Dips, and a “candy egg bouquet,” and the ingredients list corn and soy, but none of the other Top 8. They are $19.98 each, so if you are looking for an easy solution (and you aren’t allergic to corn or soy), those are an easy idea.


Benny Boo and Linsey Lou said...

I love your website! It's so nice to hear about other people in my area who manage this. I love this list! On this safe candy, though, aren't some of those cross contaminated? Also, for information's sake, I want to share this with you. I called Jelly Belly's, because my son got into a box of them at the store, to see if they contained milk because of the "lactic acid" on the label. They don't, but then the lady told me that once in awhile a bean will "jump the line and land on a belt with chocolate covered nuts." Then she said, "But the nuts are covered in chocolate so they are okay." I was baffled. I tried to tell her that that actually meant that they were crossed with both nuts and dairy, and she argued. It was frustratingly fruitless. Anyway, I just want people with cross contact issues to be aware. Thanks again for the site, I bookmarked it :)

Kelley J. P. Lindberg said...

All of the items I list showed no cross-contamination warnings on the labels. I would not include them on my list if they did. However, I always encourage people to call the factory if they are concerned -- but your experience shows that not everyone who answers the phones has a clue. I would bet the policies are much more stringent than that person thinks -- Jelly Belly seems to be working hard to regain the food-allergy portion of its market. But again, it's always smart to double-check! Thanks so much for reminding us of that!

Anonymous said...

FYI, the jelly belly website says that all of their products contain coconut (considered a tree nut in the US).

Unknown said...

Thank you for this. My son just had his first bite of a easter bunny since I avoided all milk chocolate until now (snap part bunny) so happy he was able to enjoy a piece of Hershey's chocolate!!

Unknown said...

He has a peanut allergy.

Kelley J. P. Lindberg said...

That is so exciting that he could finally have a chocolate bunny! It's the small victories in life that mean so much, isn't it?