We all know that here at Moo Free, we make delicious gluten-free chocolate and we always have. You may not know that Andrea, the CEO of Moo Free, is gluten intolerant herself. Andrea passionately believes that those with intolerances to substances such as gluten should not miss out on the wonder of chocolate.
Those who follow a gluten-free diet exclude foods that contain the protein gluten. This includes “The Big Three” – wheat, barley and rye. In this article, I look at what it means to be gluten intolerant and why it’s a big deal to chocolate-lovers.
What are the issues with gluten?
Approximately 8.5 million people in the UK follow a gluten-free diet and the market is currently worth an estimated £835 million per year. The number of people who are actually intolerant is difficult to ascertain because many people who are not intolerant believe gluten to be unhealthy and so choose not to consume it.
Gluten intolerance is not to be confused with Coeliac disease although both conditions are caused by gluten. Coaliac is an autoimmune disease rather than an allergy but is triggered by gluten. As well as the digestive problems you might expect from a reaction to certain foods, symptoms of Coeliac are severe and can include malnutrition, infertility and osteoporosis.
Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is not as severe but it can still be an extremely unpleasant condition. Symptoms are varied but can include gas, bloating, and abdominal pain as well as headaches. Sufferers can experience mental fatigue, also known as “brain fog” and also bodily fatigue.
Living without gluten
If you cannot eat gluten yourself then you know how difficult it can be to do some of the things that other people take for granted. You understand the pain of reading every ingredient on the packet of every food item you buy. Your heart cries a little when you think of toast. You feel like the ‘awkward one’ when you go to visit your friends and family. As for going out to dinner, well, things are improving and many restaurants offer more gluten-free options where once you would have been offered salad. However, the long process of having to call everywhere in advance and check out the menu can take the fun and spontaneity out of an event that should be enjoyable. I don’t even need to go into the potential minefield of weddings and the company Christmas ‘do’.
How does chocolate fit into this?
Well, if you cannot eat gluten, you know that everything fits into this. It seems that gluten can somehow sneak into just about every food.
Chocolate in its purest form is made from cacao beans and naturally gluten-free. However, many chocolate bars contain up to 15 different ingredients. Cadburys Dairy Milk has eight. Some of these ingredients, such as emulsifiers and flavouring agents may contain gluten. Additionally, any chocolate that uses wafer, biscuit pieces or just about anything that makes the bar crunchy is likely to include gluten. According to Healthline, common ingredients to look out for include:
- barley malt
- brewer’s yeast
- graham flour
- malt extract
- malt flavouring
- malt syrup
- rye flour
- wheat flour
However, an absence of these ingredients in your chocolate bar doesn’t mean it’s gluten-free. Cross-contamination is a huge problem for people with intolerances or allergies. If your chocolate has been processed in a factory that handles gluten, the product can be exposed to gluten particles and you may suffer an adverse reaction. For this reason, many popular chocolate bars state ‘may contain wheat/gluten’ on the label even when no gluten products are listed in the ingredients. Therefore, to be safe, it’s best to buy chocolate that is labelled as gluten-free.
How does Moo Free make gluten-free chocolate?
It’s pretty simple. Moo Free’s mission is to ensure that no one misses out on chocolate. That’s what we do and why we exist. We have been making our award-winning dairy-dodging chocolate for 11 years and have never included gluten. Our product development team works tirelessly to develop the best recipes which are free from dairy, soya and gluten.
We have two factories where we make our delicious choc. Neither of them handles any gluten. We follow very strict cross-contamination procedures to ensure that no gluten particles ever reach the factory.
Therefore, if you cannot eat gluten, you can be sure that you will never have to spend ages examining our ingredients. All of our bars, big and small, are made for everyone and we hope that you love them as much as we do.