Has your family missed having muesli as a breakfast option?
Before entering the nut free world, muesli was a regular fixture on our weekly shopping list. When my son suffered anaphylaxis to peanut in spring 2012, our doctors advised that he should avoid all nuts. Dorset Cereals, Jordans, Alpen… every box I checked listed nuts as an ingredient. I gave up looking, believing muesli to now be an off limits food, banished from our nut free home.
We recently came back from holiday full of the usual virtuous intentions… drink less, exercise more, eat more healthily and on and on. Whilst I’ve not yet mustered the willpower to even look for my trainers, the healthy eating kick got off to an excellent start when I received samples of Frebaco’s nut free muesli and porridge.
The degrees of nut allergy separation
Although the stats show that 1 in 50 children now has a peanut allergy, that’s only the tip of an iceberg. When a child is diagnosed peanut or tree nut allergic, many homes then become nut free zones. The allergy doesn’t just affect the allergic child’s diet, it affects how an entire household eats. A recent survey by Rich Products looked at the “Nut Allergy Ecosystem”, which showed how one child’s nut allergy impacts on how a wide circle of people shop (family, friends, teachers and so on).
(image courtesy of Foodnavigator-usa.com)
Whilst it might be a rare child who professes to love muesli, it is important that nut free versions of these products exist, for the parents who now find themselves living in nut free homes. Although finding nut free chocolate brands is great, a family’s supermarket shop isn’t just about treats. There is therefore a demand for nut free versions for ANY type of food, and particularly products which typically contain nuts. Some Chinese or Indian cooking sauces are a prime example. Muesli is another.
Step forward Frebaco. They’ve just launched a range of nut free breakfast cereals in the UK. There are “plain” and “fruity” versions of both muesli and porridge. My partner’s now a fan of the organic muesli, which he’s been eating with chopped fruit and yoghurt. Whereas I’ve enjoyed ploughing through the ready made option – the fruit muesli with added pineapple, papaya, banana, raisins and coconut flakes. As for the kids, my daughter has been stealing spoonfuls of my fruit muesli and they were both persuaded to make like Abney & Teal, sampling the oat and barley porridge, with jam. I suspect the children might be bigger fans of the company’s FRAX flakes, when they’re brought to the UK. I’ve not tried these yet but they are more geared to children: hoop shaped and in either cocoa & chocolate flavour or strawberries & blueberries.
The muesli and porridge are currently retailing at selected branches of Tesco (more on that below) at the following prices:
- Oat & Barley Porridge: £3.25 (750g)
- Oat & fruit porridge: £3.25 (750g)
- Fruit Muesli: £3.00 (625g)
- Organic Muesli: £3.00 (625g)
So all in all, they are quality nut free products at prices comparable to nutty muesli brands and something we will now be buying regularly.
Frebaco’s nut free credentials
Frebaco state on their website that they “do not allow any nuts in our factory and all our ingredients are certified to be nut-free”. Both their ingredients and products are tested for almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecan nuts, pistachios and walnuts. They are:
“Certified as a “nut-free” company, nuts are not allowed anywhere in the factory. Likewise all ingredient suppliers to Frebaco have similar certification and strict procedures.”
I confess I hadn’t heard of an official nut free certification previously. The Frebaco website includes a detailed nut free statement, which explains that the certification includes “BRC, ISO (Quality and Environment), Swedish National Food Agency (NFA nut-free ) and EU Organic / KRAV (organic products).”.
Where can I get hold of Frebaco cereals?
Frebaco has just launched in the UK in Tesco, who are pioneering a nut free zone as part of their “Lifestyle Food Fair”. The event is running until 31 August in certain Tesco Extra stores (here’s a list of participating stores) and online at Tesco.com:
- Nut Free Organic Muesli
- Nut Free Oat & Barley Porridge
- Nut Free Fruit Muesli
- Nut Free Fruit Porridge
(I understand there’s also a “4 for 3” promotion running until 24 August.)
I will save my comments on the Fair’s unfortunate title for another day (intrigued: does anyone shop nut free by choice?). For now, I’m happy to acknowledge that this initiative is a stride in the right direction for food allergic consumers, provided it continues long term.
The Frebaco products are certainly worth tracking down. Fingers crossed this brand continues to be available here after August, hopefully in a range of supermarkets and throughout the UK. It could provide a safe muesli option to many a nut allergy network.
Update (28 November 2014): Great news! Frebaco muesli is now available to order online from the TotallySwedish website.
Full ingredients information
Oat & Barley Porridge:
OAT flakes* 50%, BARLEY flakes* 50%
OAT flakes*, pineapple crisp (WHEAT flour, wholegrain OAT flour*, BARLEYmalt extract, flavouring, salt), WHEAT flakes*, cornflakes (maize flour, salt, BARLEY malt extract), pineapple 9,3% (pineapple, sugar, antioxidant (citric acid), preservative (SULPHUR DIOXIDE), RYE flakes*, papaya 8,6% (papaya, sugar, preservative (SULPHUR DIOXIDE), BARLEY flakes*, banana 6,2% (banana, coconut oil, sugar, flavouring), raisins, toasted coconut flakes 3,6%.
OAT flakes* **, WHEAT flakes* **, BARLEY flakes* (BARLEY* **, salt), RYE flakes* **.
Oat & fruit porridge:
OAT flakes* 85%, raisins 7%, papaya 4% (papaya, sugar, preservative (SULPHUR DIOXIDE), pineapple 4% (pineapple, sugar, antioxidant (citric acid), preservative (SULPHUR DIOXIDE).