ROCHESTER, NY, 2015-9-23 — /EPR Retail News/ — Life is sweet. Now shopping for Halloween candy this fall just got sweeter at Wegmans Food Markets, which is helping customers who may be avoiding gluten or food allergens. The seasonal candy aisle is adorned with a prominent sign, directing shoppers to an online chart of information about gluten and major allergens such as peanuts, tree nuts, egg, dairy, and soy found in common Halloween treats. The chart is available at wegmans.com/halloweenallergens, and can also be printed out at any Wegmans service desk.
Halloween treats on the chart are listed by item description and UPC number. A “no” in the allergen box means that the item does NOT contain that allergen. For example, fun-size Starburst candies do not contain gluten/wheat, peanuts, or tree nuts, but they may contain egg, dairy, and soy.
“Last Halloween, many of our customers asked for help choosing safe treats for children with food allergies. We listened closely to that need and wanted to provide clear, accurate information this season,” said Wegmans Category Merchant Jennifer Komendat, who oversees candy. “More than six months ago, we began reaching out to our Halloween candy suppliers, asking if they’d like to participate by verifying allergen statements and carefully checking ingredient lists so that we could gather the information into one simple reference chart.”
Halloween candy is the target of this initiative because, according to Wegmans Corporate Nutrition and Product Labeling Manager Jane Andrews, MS, RDN, parents are used to reading labels for foods they purchase for their own families every week, but when it comes to something they buy for someone else or buy only occasionally, such as for a holiday, they have questions.
“If you or someone in your family has food allergies, you have a game plan, but if you’re buying treats for someone else’s child who may have a food allergy, you’ll be shopping for something you don’t typically buy, and that can be tricky,” Andrews says. “Easy access to this information online and in the store can be a relief to the customer who may be looking for candy that’s peanut-free or dairy-free to bring into a classroom, a party, or to hand out to trick-or-treaters.”
The chart features more than 30 traditional Halloween candies like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Tootsie Rolls, Dots, and Junior Mints. Most items are available while supplies last and selection may vary by store. However, Wegmans also included information for several products that have year-round availability in the fruit snack aisle, such as Wegmans Fruit Strips and Fruit Twists.
“We are excited to provide this information to our customers and hope our efforts make it easier for parents to navigate the options so everyone can enjoy a safe, sweet Halloween,” Komendat says.
Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is an 86-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The family-owned company, founded in 1916, is recognized as an industry leader and innovator. Wegmans has been named one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ by FORTUNE magazine for 18 consecutive years, ranking #7 in 2015. The company also ranked #1 for Corporate Reputation, among the 100 ‘most-visible companies’ nationwide in the 2014 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient ® study.
Jo Natale, vice president of media relations 585-429-3627
Evelyn Carter, consumer affairs manager (Syracuse media only), 315-546-1110
Michele Mehaffy, consumer affairs manager (Buffalo media only), 716-685-8170
SOURCE: Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.