I’ve been a bit absent from the blog-world as of late (my apologies, I will blog about it soon, I suspect.), but thought I’d finally take the time to write about something that has bothered me for some time……well, actually, it has bothered me for about 1,497 days, give or take a few.
When I am out shopping…whether in grocery stores or even hardware stores (again, I’ll blog about this later), I can’t help but be faced with a barrage of “impulse-buy” items…. and having a sweet-tooth, I devote a few seconds to perusing the selection of sugary treats to see what I might have a hankering for. Inevitably, it will be something that had slipped off of the radar of my consciousness altogether until my eyes alight upon a bag of, oh…say…orange slices? or gum drops? You know…the candy that you never really have at the forefront of your mind, but which is a solid “Oh, yeah!” purchase.
So, despite indulging in a little impulse-shopping, I always look at the packaging to see if it is safe to eat. ALWAYS. And what do I ALWAYS find? Well, for starters, Brach’s candy company must have the corner on aisle and end cap real-estate in a certain radius to the check-out lanes I inevitably go to. Secondly, they ALWAYS have a disclaimer about possibly being processed on equipment that processes wheat, yadda, yadda, yadda. ALWAYS.
Now, look: you might think I’m just whining about some gum drops…and to be honest, if this was all it was, I’d accept it as fate’s way of helping me eat a little healthier (maybe drop a few pounds…), but this is about more than check-out aisle treats. That’s right. I’m talking about the big-time: Seasonal Candy.
And what’s my beef with this all? I am super irked that a HUGE company like Brach’s can’t get their act together and actually test their food. Their disclaimer seems like a legal catch-all to prevent them from being sued by anybody for anything. I’d be surprised to find that there isn’t something in their generic paragraph warning about getting papercuts from the plastic packaging. While this legal catch-all may comfort them, I find it annoying and haughty. Like gluten-free shoppers aren’t important to their bottom line to bother to see if they are, in fact, barred from eating their products.
And maybe we’re not…but it is a shame nonetheless. Every stinking year I have to trek out to the stores to hunt down some little hole-in-the-wall company to get stupid candy corn and conversation hearts for the holidays. Rarely is it ever as good..and most commonly it is at least twice the price. It is stupid, I know. After all, it IS JUST candy corn and conversation hearts…but it is bigger than that for me. It represents a huge company basically telling a portion of the population that we don’t matter. And that stinks.
I could understand if these foods actually did contain gluten….but I’m 99.99999% sure that they don’t. And you’re telling me that that equipment is making other candy that has gluten for the few months that you aren’t pumping out tons and tons of tiny sugar-laden hearts and bits of corn? Give me a break.
So, this blog is an indictment of lazy companies like Brach’s Candy, who could so easily provide some assurance to consumers with celiac disease by actually labeling when it is appropriate and not just as a generic catch-all, but who choose not to for reasons that are entirely incomprehensible to anyone with an ounce of common sense. Way to go, Brach’s.
Little companies all over the world have been able to have labeling that actually reflects the specific product it contains, and processes and equipment it goes through. Either you are so out of touch that you don’t see that, or you are so big you have lost touch with your audience.
As a former conversation-heart-aholic, I can say with absolute seriousness that I theorize they personally took a financial hit after I stopped purchasing their products back in 2007. But it is the ever-present, grating irritation I feel every time I see a bag marked “Brachs” that should be the real kicker to them. Celiac disease diagnosis is on the rise. Wake-up and get with the program, Brach’s! The train is leaving the station, and you’re going to be left in the powdered-sugar dust if you aren’t more on top of things like this!
P.S. The day you decide that celiacs are worthy of buying your products, please let me know….and please try and schedule it before the 2014 batch of conversation hearts hits the market.