Monday, April 7, 2014

Allergy-Free Easter Candy Round-Up 2014 (Local Stores)

By Kelley Lindberg

Last week, I listed some good sources for ordering allergy-safe Easter and Passover candy online. There may still be time to order that candy if you’re quick. But if you’re like me and find yourself procrastinating, never fear… there are some allergy-free options close to home, too.

If you’re looking for nut-free chocolate bunnies, but you can tolerate milk, your best bet locally is, as always, Hershey’s. I found a good supply of safe Hershey’s bunnies at Target. I also found a Hershey’s chocolate cross at Walmart. The safe bunnies are all 6-inch style (Snapsy, Speedy Bunny, Princess Bunny, and Hollow Bunny), and they all contain milk and soy lecithin, but they appear corn-free. I also found a package of 6 Hershey’s solid chocolate bunnies that are nut-free and contain only milk and soy lecithin (but avoid the package of 6 “cookies and cream” bunnies – they have additional allergens). 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 are also nut-free, although they contain milk, soy, and corn. But only the mini eggs are nut-free – the larger sizes tend to have nut warnings (although Target has a Cadbury Hollow Milk Chocolate Egg Filled With Mini Eggs that is nut free, but contains milk, soy lectithin, and corn).

Walmart did have bags of Sixlets, which are small nut-free candy-coated chocolates (similar to M&Ms), that contain milk and soy lecithin. And Target has cones of Hershey’s chocolate drops coated in white candy, sold in a cellophane cone (contains milk, corn, and soy lecithin).

As far as other Easter candy, I was pleasantly surprised to find that more and more allergy-free candy options are appearing every year. Many of our “tried and true” candy manufacturers are jumping on the jelly-bean band wagon, which means more safe jelly beans for our kids. I was especially happy with the amount of new and interesting safe candy items at Target, although you can find at least a few safe candy options at all the big grocery stores, like Walmart, Smith’s/Kroger’s, and Fresh Market.

If you’re avoiding corn as well as the Big 8, your best bet is to order online (see last week’s blog), but you can also try these:
  • Pixy Stix
  • Fluffy Stuff Cotton Tails (I found them at Smith’s and Target)
  • Cotton Candy (Walmart)

If you can tolerate corn, then more options open up. The following are free from the Big 8 allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish) unless otherwise noted. But please remember, READ EVERY LABEL EVERY TIME! Because the same company may use many different factories across the country to make their products, never assume that if one package is safe, all of their packages will be. Peeps are a great example. Some flavors and pacakges and styles of Peeps will be milk-free, while others in the same store – sometimes on the same shelf – will contain a milk warning. Anyway, here are some allergy-free Easter candies you may want to take a look at:
  • Jelly Beans:
    • Jolly Rancher (contains soy lecithin)
    • Jelly Belly (contains soy lecithin)
    • SweeTart
    • Starburst
    • Life Savers
    • Nerds Bumpy Beans
    • Swedish Fish Eggs
    • Mike and Ike
  • Giant Gummy Bunny (Target) – Looking for a 6-inch bunny for the basket, but don’t want chocolate? Try a Pink Lemonade or Blue Raspberry gummy bunny! (Contains soy and gelatin)
  • Dum-Dums
  • Easter Egg Surprise Lollipops (Walmart)
  • Wonka Springtime Fun Dips
  • Life Savers Gummies Bunnies and Eggs (contains gelatin)
  • Smarties
  • Gummy Butterflies in a large egg-shaped tin (Target) (contains gelatin and coconut)
  • Haribo Happy Hoppers (Target) – traditional gummi bears in individual packets (contains coconut and gelatin)
  • Rain-blo Bubble Gum Eggs
  • Pez Dispensers (contains soy lecithin)

Looking for pre-filled Easter Eggs? Walmart has a package of 28 eggs filled with candy that might work for you. The Noah’s Ark version says “Soy may be present,” but the “Bunnies and Chicks” version doesn’t carry that warning. And Sam’s Club has pails of 36 pre-filled plastic eggs that might work for you. Check the labels for your allergens.

Of course there are other safe candy options, like regular Starbursts or chewing gum, but I focused on Easter-specific candy for this round-up. Hope it helps! And if you run across a great allergy-free find, be sure to share it with us in the Comments!


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