You may not know but Moo Free was started 10 years ago because the son of founders, Mike and Andrea, couldn’t eat dairy. Obviously, that meant no chocolate, no Easter eggs and no Christmas treats. No one wants to see their child unable to have what their friends have so Mike and Andrea put their thinking caps on. When they started experimenting with making their own chocolate, they had no idea of what the next 10 years would bring…
April 26 – 30th is Allergy Awareness Week. We at Moo Free wanted to acknowledge and support the time that is dedicated to raising awareness and giving help to allergy sufferers. Many of our customers and supporters struggle with food allergies and we feel very close to these issues.
According to the *Food Standards Agency, In the UK, an estimated 2 million people are living with a diagnosed food allergy, and 600,000 (1 in 100) with coeliac disease. These figures exclude those with food intolerances such as lactose intolerance, so the number of people with restricted diets is even higher.
We reached out to our customers and encouraged people to share their stories with us. The response was phenomenal – so many people generously shared their experiences. We went through all the emotions while reading them – sympathy, hope, inspiration and genuine pride that so many people said that Moo Free had helped.
Many people talked of being unable to relax because friends and relatives just didn’t understand what their child could and couldn’t have.
“[My son] Jamie had an anaphylactic reaction recently as a trusted adult gave him a small dairy chocolate egg, the adult thought they had bought dairy-free but they didn’t check the ingredients. Unfortunately, it was a normal dairy milk egg.” – Sammie
“No matter how many times we explain, our parents-her grandparents are just too scared to have her alone, to give her tea. To treat her like her older brother. They're too scared in case she picks up a biscuit or they give her the wrong thing.” - Bethany
Some said that their often very serious problems just weren’t treated with the concern they deserved.
“As a child, I never felt my nut allergy was taken very seriously as allergies just weren't talked about.” - Jo
Happily, as awareness grows, there is a greater understanding of how to deal with the issues. However, more than one person reported that allergies are considered a children’s issue and that they’re not taken seriously in adults.
“After getting diagnosed with breast cancer at 50 and going through treatment which included chemotherapy and immunotherapy, I became allergic to various goods including dairy” - Mandy
The FSA reports that people with allergies, especially young people, often risk allergic reactions to fit in in order to avoid being the ‘awkward one’ who limits food choices or where to eat.
“Whenever I went to a mate’s house, I’d say I wasn’t hungry because I didn’t want to be ‘the one with the allergies’”. – Jordan
We are so very grateful to everyone that has shared their stories with us – what’s printed here is a mere snippet of the responses we received. We’re genuinely inspired by how so many of you deal with so many medical issues ranging from constantly uncomfortable to terrifying. There was so much humour and pragmatism in the words people wrote.
And, of course, we’re so happy to help.
“Moo free has been a lifesaver for us to help him feel included at Easter - bunnies and eggs. Christmas selection packs and advent calendars and chocolates throughout the year as a treat or used for baking. “ Katie, William’s mum