People who are diagnosed with a food allergy have to give up some favorite foods or turn to less-than-tasty substitutes. But enough Americans are diagnosed with allergies that businesses are rising to the occasion to make good-tasting alternatives.
Often, allergen-free products are made because a family member develops the condition. In one of the more ironic situations, the Coffins, a Montana farm family that has been dairying for generations, had to remove all dairy products from the diets of mom and the kids.
After trying the less-than-satisfactory alternatives the family began to create their own substitutes, tasty enough that everyone—including the non-allergic—could enjoy. The WayFare line of puddings, cheese spreads (regular, Mexican and smoked, our favorite) and sour cream was the happy result. Ice cream is currently under development.
The “secret” ingredient in the line is certified gluten-free, whole grain oatmeal. In the course of using oatmeal to replace the body of milk, the products also became cholesterol free and vegan.
The line is 100% dairy-free, soy free, cholesterol free, trans-fats free and non-GMO. The products are certified kosher by Star-K.
WayFare lactose-free puddings. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.
So how do they taste?
The butterscotch and chocolate fare well; the vanilla, to us, doesn’t have significant vanilla flavor and works better as a hard sauce or creamy topping.
There’s a store locator on WayFareFoods.com, and information for retailers who want to amp up their lactose free foods.
There’s an economic opportunity in products that address food allergies. Anheuser-Busch makes a gluten-free beer, the Girl Scouts sell three varieties of milk-free (lactose-free) cookies and General Mills reformulated Rice Chex earlier this year to be gluten-free. Kellogg’s makes its Pop-Tarts in nut-free factories. If vodka is your drink of choice, look for products distilled from non-grains, such as grapes and potatoes.
An estimated 12 million people in the U.S. have food allergies; 2 million more have celiac disease, a potentially deadly form of gluten allergy.
Medical experts don’t know why the number of people with food allergies is increasing. Theories include reduced contact with germs, exposure to certain environmental pollutants and, in the case of peanut allergies, the way peanuts are processed and at what point they are introduced into a person’s diet. Much research is needed; there is very little of it, even though allergic reaction to food causes about 30,000 emergency room visits and 150 to 200 fatalities each year.
Statistics from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) reveal that in the U.S.:
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