Surely nut free food choice isn’t decreasing as nut allergies rise?

Stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before… I fear I may be sounding like a stuck record.

I nipped to my local Sainsburys in Macclesfield yesterday morning. There were only two things I needed to buy:

  • Nut free Easter Eggs, and
  • A nut free birthday cake for my daughter’s 2nd birthday later this month.

It should have been a quick trip.

The Easter Egg hunt

I found the Easter Egg aisle (pictured, right).

Wow – what a vast selection! Eggs by Cadbury, Bon Bon Buddies, Sainsbury’s own brand, Thorntons and more.

However, each and every one carried a “may contain nuts” (or equivalent) warning. I know, because I checked them, whilst grumbling to myself about nut warning labels and the appalling lack of choice for nut allergic children (a habit I had vowed to break…).

The only options for nut allergic children were:

Kinnerton and Cadburys creme eggs

Namely, Kinnerton’s Thomas and Peppa mealtime gift sets plus Cadbury creme eggs. (There were a handful of the Kinnerton single eggs too). Fortunately, my children still love all things Thomas and Peppa, so these are sure to be a hit – but what are older children and adults meant to do? And more worryingly, this is a much reduced nut safe selection, both in terms of volume and choice, compared to last year.

Birthday cake quest

Just Love Food Company party bake

I then headed to the cake aisle. The nut free options consisted of a couple of the Just Love Food Company’s chocolate and vanilla tray bakes plus a solitary “Princess Castle” cake.

Sainsburys fairy princess cake

Now, I have nothing against the tray bakes, far from it. We buy them regularly for family get togethers or if I have 8 children coming for a playdate. However, for that reason, I wanted something a little different for my daughter’s birthday. I was disappointed by the depleted number of nut free options. You can normally count on the Sainsbury’s cake section to have, for example, a couple of nut free Gruffalo cakes, and, I’m fairly certain I’ve seen a nut free pirate cake there too. Today’s offering felt quite sparse. So I decided to try elsewhere.

More fool me. I headed to our local Tesco superstore and found precisely ZERO nut free celebration cake options. So guess who is now heading back to Sainsbury’s, keeping my fingers crossed that the token girlie nut free birthday cake is still there.

Where are the nut free options?

So, in two large supermarkets, I could buy:

  • One brand of large Easter Egg.
  • One brand of small chocolate egg.
  • One brand of celebration cake in Sainsbury’s (either a tray bake or a princess castle – there were no “boy’s” options on display), but NO safe options at all in Tesco.

Yet 1 in 50 children in the UK have a nut allergy? What’s more, to my eye, the selection of both nut safe chocolate eggs and large cakes in Sainsbury’s was reduced compared to last year. Surely nut free food choice can’t be decreasing, as nut allergies are on the rise?

If you are still searching for nut free Easter eggs, there is a list of safe options here. For nut free cakes, check out the Nutmums nut free food directory. And if you’ve noticed a decrease in nut safe products in your local supermarket – be it chocolates, cakes or any other type of food – do post a comment below, I would love to hear from you.

14 comments

  1. Hi, I’m 18 with a severe peanut allergy (used to be tree nuts too, but grew out of that by 13 although I still avoid all nuts) and the Easter egg situation really gets me down.. For most of my childhood it was okay because I could eat most of the cadburys eggs, but now like you noticed it is just Kinerton (which are great, but at 18 a little childish.. their ‘egg for adults’ isnt all that nice as im not a dark chocolate fan). However, I have noticed that this year ‘mini milk’ have created an Easter egg and this is apparently free from nuts and can be found in Asda, still not ideal for older children though..
    As for birthday cake I have always had one home made, so it’s great to hear that some where is making nut-free ones now 🙂

    1. Hi Nicole – thanks for your message! That’s interesting that the Cadbury’s eggs were once safe. It’s a shame that has changed! My son just doesn’t understand why I say he can’t have e.g. a chocolate buttons egg, when he has chocolate buttons normally!
      Yes, the Just Love Food Company cakes are great – as well as the ones in the supermarket, they make them to order too (http://www.justlovefoodcompany.com/products-bespoke.html).
      Louise

  2. Tesco is to be avoided for the nut allergic . All their products have some sort of nut allergy warning ; even fresh meat and soft drinks. Their main concern is profit and avoiding litigation. Imagine if all supermarkets took this selfish attitude . The sooner they go out of business the better.

  3. OOOoooohh I hear you! This is my first Easter post-4yr-old-daughter-nut/peanut-allergy-diagnosis… and the situation is dire to say the least! But I have one fab discovery! Waitrose do an Easter egg hunt kit with 20 foil wrapped eggs and little sign post things that are not covered in a may contain nuts warning! It is their woodland friends range one… so Easter egg hunts are at least back on!

    But I hadn’t realised creme eggs were allowed – oh thank you from the bottom of my chocolate loving heart!

  4. My son is 18 this year – he had his first (and only to date) anaphylactic attack at 15 months, so waay back in 1998. The rate at which foods have become no go for us has accelerated at an astonishing rate in the last 5 years or so and this year is the first I have not been able to source him an Easter egg (yes he’s a big boy but he’s a traditionalist!). I can’t hand him a 1D or a Skylanders Kinnerton egg! For the last few years we have been down to Malteser and Minstrel eggs from Mars. Cadbury, M&S and Asda were my “go tos” for years, they were ALL nut safe, all I had to do was make sure the product with the egg was OK in the Cadbury range… so Twirl and Creme Egg were fine, Wispa and Caramel not fine. I can only assume they have moved their egg production – I’ve asked them several times but they never respond. Your 2014 list is great – I have been able to order a couple for him but crikey – £24 for 2 hollow eggs and some small solid ones?! it’s not the three for £10 I used to be able to buy 🙁 What really hacks me off (and I have told Cadbury this til I am blue in the face) is it’s not just the 1 in 50 who actually have the nut allergy that are affected, it’s the brothers and sisters too, and certainly in our family the cousins. So 5 kids in all who had to have nut-safe eggs every year, bought by parents, aunties, grandparents… It’s considerably more far-reaching than 1 in 50.

    1. Hi Nikkii – Very interesting to hear how things have changed (although concerning to hear just how much the choice has diminished). This is only our second Easter in the world of nut allergies – and we’re lucky that our children are still at an age where they’re happy with Thomas, Peppa etc. That’s a really good point about other children in the family being affected too. It makes me wonder how high the demand for nut free chocolate has to get, before we’ll see a choice from the mainstream chocolate brands again. I’ll put this to the manufacturers too … will report back!

    2. So glad that u have got in touch with cadburys and you r so right about the fact that brothers and sisters also have to get nut free eggs.

  5. Hello all, this is my first time posting on Nutmums… I have a 13yr old daughter who was diagnosed with Peanut allergy at 3yrs and I too have noticed a decline in Easter egg options in recent years, not to mention the option for a teenager is utterly hopeless and in past years my daughter has received several identical Kinnerton eggs from family members as there is nothing else available. This year in desperation I’ve decided to buy a basic Kinnerton egg, discard the packaging completely, add a couple of nut free single chocolate bars that my daughter likes (eg, Aero or Yorkie, etc) and re-pack with cellophane and a pretty ribbon. I will be asking family members to do the same and the hope is that this year, all the eggs will be packaged differently and will be accompanied by different chocolate bars & goodies and she will finally feel like she is getting something more individual and age appropriate. You can re-pack eggs in small gift bags and I’ve even seen little Easter baskets at a local garden centre that could be filled with Crème eggs and other nut free chocolates, etc. Hope this helps!

  6. Christine, I’ve nearly done the same this year, I found empty cardboard eggs in ikea, I’ve bought kinnerton Thomas the tank eggs, (which my 10 and 6 yr old don’t like!) thrown away the boxes and put them inside the ikea egg. As the eggs are small I’ve filled them with sweets.
    The ikea eggs are reusable, so will keep them for next year.

    I agree nikki, only one son has a peanut allergy, but I need to get nut free food for both of them!

  7. My husband and daughter both have severe nut allergies and this time of year is a total nightmare for me. My daughter knows that kitKats are safe so ALWAYS asks for a kitkat Easter egg. When we look at the very very small print (once we have found the list of ingredients in English!!) It always says that the chocolate bars are safe but the chocolate egg ‘may contain’ AAGH! so annoying!. The kinnerton ones are ok for toddlers but not 8 year olds

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