Let’s face it – holiday season is filled with sweet snacks, but that’s not for everyone, especially if you have allergies!
This season, we chatted with David Lurie, founder of U.S.-based free2b foods, which now has its products available in Canada too. The brand prides itself in offering delicious sweet options for those who suffer from the most common food allergies. In our latest November issue, we chatted with Lurie about free2b and their food philosophy.
1) What does the name of your business stand for and mean?
We named the company free2b foods as we wanted to expand beyond cups and beyond confection. Today, we are free of 16 identified food allergens, which include top 8 recognized by FDA.
2) Please describe your top 3 selling products.
In Canada, they are:
1) Rice Chocolate Sun Cups
2) Dark Chocolate Sun Cups
3) Blueberry Crunch Snack Breaks
3) Food allergies are a common occurrence these days, especially in North America. How do you manufacture your products to ensure they are allergen free?
We are very stringent about products that we bring in for use in our facility and our partner relationships, including: allergy statements, testing by partner vendors and testing by our lab prior to using ingredients.
We have our own dedicated facility today to produce all of our products under one allergen-free roof. And even with that said, we still test our finished product weekly in-house.
Our team also goes through allergen training. Peanuts and tree nuts are not allowed in the facilities’ break room. We have staff change into shoes, lab coats hair/beard nets prior to entering the facility. Then, once entering, a strict protocol on hand washing is enforced and then disposable gloves are required.
4) Please explain how you select ingredients for your products. And how did you choose which allergens to avoid? Why?
We avoid the following food allergens: Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Dairy, Gluten, Fish, Shellfish, Egg, Soy, Corn, Sesame, Coconut and Mustard. We are also free of Lupin, Sulfites and Pea.
So, when selecting a product, we have to do the drill down to make sure there are no derivatives of these item in our ingredients or packaging. For instance, citric acid can often be derived from corn, so we require citric acid derived from lemon in our specs. This is usually found in dried fruits.
5) What is your favourite pick for the holiday season? And what can we expect from you in the new year?
For the holidays, I think our Peppermint Snack Breaks are perfect!
Our big launch for the first quarter of 2018 id the new Chewy Bars & Bites. Designed to compete with the market’s top chewy granola bars, these are also free of the food allergens!