Whilst cursing the loss of Fabulous Bakin’ Boys as a dedicated nut free brand, I realised I hadn’t posted an update about Alpro’s decision to keep its soya products (save for yoghurts – see below) nut free.
A quick recap: may contain traces of almonds and hazelnuts
Last November, Alpro confirmed that they were going to produce their soya products in the same factory as their nut milks from the end of 2014. They had begun to add “may contain traces of almonds and hazelnuts” to their soya products in advance of this switch.
Many parents of children with both nut and dairy allergies were distraught at this news. As well as being nut free, reasonably priced and readily available across the UK, the fortified Alpro soya products provided a staple source of calcium for children who had to avoid both dairy and nuts.
The decision also:
- Meant Provamel products would no longer be nut free.
- Meant the trade version of Alpro soya (supplied to coffee shops, such as Costa) would no longer be nut free.
- Would likely mean the supermarket own brand milks made by Alpro would soon bear a “may contain” warning too.
The “Alpro: Save our Soya” campaign
We therefore launched the Alpro: Save our Soya (AlproSOS) campaign, originally to ask Alpro to reconsider the move, given their soya products are a staple part of so many dairy and nut allergic children’s diets. When we learned that the decision had been made, but that their allergen controls were apparently gold standard, we asked if the may contain labels were necessary.
Alpro soya to stay nut free
The first hint of success came in March 2014, when Alpro agreed that the 1 litre cartons (but not the 250ml cartons) of their junior milk would continue to be made in a nut free factory.
Then in August, Alpro “saved our soya”, issuing the following statement:
“As you know, a year ago we decided to label all our plant based products with a ‘may contain traces of almonds and hazelnuts’ claim. This was to give consumers advance warning of the integration of products containing almonds or hazelnuts into its production facilities.
After thorough investigation and without compromising Alpro’s ethical aims of bringing delicious and safe products to the market, we are pleased to confirm that we will be gradually removing the ‘may contain traces of almonds and hazelnuts’ claim from our soya, rice and oat drinks as well as our plant-based alternatives to cream and desserts.
As part of a major investment programme in our facilities, we will arrange our current production lines to be dedicated to producing soya, rice and oat drinks or almond, hazelnut and coconut drinks. Any avoidable risk of cross contamination is thus excluded, which means the warning can be removed from our soya, rice and oat drink products and our plant-based alternatives to cream and desserts.
We apologise for any confusion relating to the nut claim, but our intention regarding labelling has always to keep consumers fully informed of the changes as early as possible. Now that production plans have changed, the claim is no longer necessary on soya, rice and oat drinks and our plant-based alternatives to cream and desserts.
These recent decisions and measures will allow all consumers to continue to enjoy Alpro soya, rice and oat drinks and our Alpro plant-based alternatives to cream and desserts in the future.”
Clearly this is a fantastic result for those with nut and dairy allergic children. A huge thank you to Alpro for listening to their food allergic customers and reversing their decision to merge the nut and soya milk production lines.
Alpro soya yoghurts ‘may contain nuts’ … for now
The only remaining sticking point is that the “may contain” warning will not be removed from Alpro soya yoghurts at the present time.
The FAQs on the Alpro UK website state (as at 28 October 2014):
Hopefully Alpro’s procedures will confirm there is no cross contamination risk and the “may contain” warnings will soon be lifted from the yoghurts too. Keep an eye on the AlproSOS facebook page for the latest news!