Navigating the aisles Reply

We are off to Costco shortly – a fact finding mission. I have never really noticed any ‘free from’ foods in there before, but have never really looked. I am usually in there when I am bulk buying bits on behalf of Zac’s pre-school.

But, as I have some time on my hands today, I want to have a proper look. As we all know the ‘free from’ foods are sold at such a premium price, it would be nice if it was possible to bulk buy the non-perishables for a good price. Wish me luck.

To be honest, I am not overly hopeful but would think at least the Alpro soya milk might be stocked as that is fairly mainstream these days. I guess I also need to remember that not all ‘free from’ are suitable and not all foods that don’t say they are ‘free from’ are unsuitable.

These are the complicated rules we live by and that is why navigating the aisles of any supermarket is such a slow business. You have to read everything and even then you can be left unsure.

The rules I live by are as follows:

  • If it does not say Dairy Free – it almost certainly isn’t. Watch out for whey protein and the other names for milk protein, e.g. casein, lactulose, whey, rennet. It is a huge list. For more info look at www.godairyfree.org
  • Not all ‘dairy free’ products live in the allergy aisle or on the allergy shelves.  Some are naturally dairy free and gluten free but the manufacturers don’t feel the need to say so and do not position them as food for intolerants, e.g. , Birds Eye potato waffles, popping corn, plain corn tortilla chips, Walkers Ready Salted crisps. So you don’t always need to spend three times the amount on your foods. Just read everything!
  • Just because it says ‘Free From’ it doesn’t mean it is free from everything. A lot of the products are just wheat and gluten free. Always check the ingredients.
  • Things change – some product ingredients change. Some foods will be dairy free one day and not another time. So always read the ingredients, even on products you have tried before.
  • Not all potato waffles are safe – Birds Eye are, currently. But many of the supermarket own brand ones are coated in wheat flakes and dipped in milk protein. Nice!!!
  • Very few crisps are safe – even Pom Bears are made with milk and Hula Hoops definitely affect Zac even though their packaging say they ‘may contain milk’. It is easier just to point out the crisps that are safe. Just the really basic simple potato crisps, usually just ready salted and cooked in nothing but vegetable oil. I am not sure why so many crisps are coated in milk protein but they are, so always read the labels.
  • Even rice cakes aren’t always safe. Zac loves caramel ‘Snack a Jacks’. The large ones are safe, the small ones in the individual packets are not. They have milk protein on them. So never assume that even something that appears to be the same product will be made the same way.
  • Oven chips are tricky. Some, again usually the cheaper, plainer varieties are safe. A lot of the ‘french fries’ type have milk protein and wheat flakes. I guess that’s what makes them crispy. So beware!

Will update this list as we go along. Happy shopping!

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