Shortly afterwards, I received a copy of the following press release from Fabulous Bakin’ Boys themselves:
“FABULOUS BAKIN’ BOYS SAYS GOODBYE TO NUT FREE STATUS
The Fabulous Bakin’ Boys, who produce flapjacks, muffins and cupcakes for major retailers, will be introducing new nutty variants into its product range next year and as a result, its factory will no longer be guaranteed ‘Nut Free’.
Next year will see changes to the Fabulous Bakin’ Boys’ range with exciting new product lines to meet increased customer demands for nutty, healthier options suitable for snacking on the go. Producing just a few nutty lines means that the Fabulous Bakin’ Boys’ Witney factory can no longer claim to be nut free and the company is working with the Anaphylaxis Campaign to communicate this to their customers with nut allergies.
Richard Cooper from The Fabulous Bakin Boys explains:
“After years of consumers asking for nutty variants, we plan to start manufacturing a nutty treat or two next year. It’s with a heavy heart that we’re changing our factory’s guaranteed nut free status but hope that our fans will understand the need for change. We will of course still have baked goods without nuts but as they will be baked in the same environment as the new products, we need to alert customers to this.
“Packaging on all products will highlight the change from Nut Free status from November 2014, and we’ll be working closely with the Anaphylaxis Campaign to inform those with nut allergies that we plan on changing in the new year”.
For more information on severe allergies visit www.anaphylaxis.org.uk.”
When it comes to dedicated nut free food manufacturers, there are very few companies out there whose entire product range is nut free. Just Love Food Company, Kinnerton (not counting their white label products) and Ilumi are a few of the few examples that immediately spring to mind. Fabulous Bakin’ Boys were another. Since my son’s peanut allergy diagnosis, my “go to brands” for cakes have been Just Love Food (for birthday cakes) and Fabulous Bakin’ Boys (for cupcakes, muffins and flapjacks). There are so few other safe options in the supermarket cake aisle, these two companies have been a godsend over the last two years. To learn that Fabulous Bakin’ Boys are now going to be labelled “may contain nuts” and therefore off limits, is disappointing to say the least.
You can count on your fingers the brands stocked in your supermarket that speak the language of a nut mum: “Relax! Your child can actually eat this product without risk”. Now, one of those brands are pulling the rug. This both frustrates and saddens me.
Surely nut free food choice shouldn’t be decreasing, as nut allergies are on the rise?
Why has Fabulous Bakin’ Boys nut free status changed?
One of the plus points about the Fabulous Bakin’ Boys products is that they are all individually wrapped. This makes them ideal, for example, for including in your nut allergic child’s “safe treats box” at school. My son only started school this September and already two of his classmates have celebrated their 5th birthdays, with everyone being given a cake. On those occasions, my son has had a Fabulous Bakin’ Boys cupcake from his safe treats box, and very pleased with it he was too. Unfortunately, this safe solution is no longer an option from November.
It seems that the individual wrappers may have been the undoing of Fabulous Bakin’ Boys’ nut free cake offering. According to The Business Magazine, in 2012, FBB “made a £3m investment in the installation of a new automated line in its bakery in the first quarter of 2012”.
Despite having been described as “the growth star of the UK cake market”. Fabulous Bakin’ Boys went into administration earlier this year. “Overspending”, including on the new automated packaging machinery, has been given as a reason for the company’s financial problems.
“two founders and directors of Fabulous Bakin’ Boys, md Gary Frank and Jon Frank, have now moved on from the firm.”
This looks like a case of a company being bought and its nut free principles then being discarded.
Saying that, the 2012 article on Gary Frank in The Business Magazine makes no mention of Fabulous Bakin’ Boys’ nut free credentials, which begs the question of whether “nut free” was a core principle of the brand, or an incidental bonus.
Either way, in their own words, Fabulous Bakin’ Boys are now “going nuts”. Sadly nut allergic children will no longer be able to “keep on munching”.
(image courtesy of Fabulous Bakin’ Boys, 27 October 2014)
Step forward a new brand?
It’s probably fair to say that Fabulous Bakin’ Boys popularity amongst nut allergy families demonstrates that you don’t always have to have an “amazing” product. I’m not asking for Delia’s secret recipe here. A safe product, that you can buy locally and that your children enjoy, is good enough for parties and class treats.
Whilst there are other bakeries making small, nut free cakes and sweet treats, Fabulous Bakin’ Boys was the only one readily available in major supermarkets across the UK. Let’s hope another manufacturer steps in to fill this gap in the market sometime very soon.
Sources / further information
- Anaphylaxis Campaign, The Fabulous Bakin’ Boys – Important Allergen Information (27 October 2014).
- The Business Magazine, Gary Frank – Fabulous Bakin Boys (1 February 2012).
- FoodManufacture.co.uk, Overspend led Fabulous Bakin’ Boys to administration by Rod Addy (14 April 2014).
- Just-food, Analysis: Daelmans eyes Europe with Fabulous Bakin’ Boys buy by Hannah Abdulla (28 April 2014).