8 Allergy-Friendly Foods That Were Tragically Discontinued

8 Allergy-Friendly Foods That Were Tragically Discontinued

Gluten-free products are disappearing from the shelves, to the disappointment of hangry, food-savvy consumers.

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Strawberry toaster pastry
Photo: MSPhotographic (Shutterstock)

Why is it that the best gluten-free, vegan, or allergy-friendly products always get discontinued?

As a food allergy mama this can be difficult. I finally find an awesome product that my gluten-free, nut free, dairy-free son actually enjoys, one that doesn’t cause him to react (which is like hunting for a unicorn), and then one day, poof, it’s gone, never to be found again.

Unfortunately, gluten-free products and other allergen-friendly items disappearing from the marketplace is an all too common trend.

“Living through a pandemic has been a huge wake-up call for the world, and it showed all of us how important it is to be prepared,” writes Coral Ward-Barajas, creator of the podcast Gluten Free You and Me, on GlutenFreeLiving.com. “But for those of us with celiac disease, food allergies, or any intolerances, it’s been especially frightening and has often felt like being in survival mode.”

Not only is it hard to find good tasting allergy-friendly foods, but if you really need a certain product, it can be nearly impossible to find a replacement that won’t cause a potentially dangerous reaction.

Steven Lieber, president of The Gluten Free Shoppe in Brooklyn, New York, says many manufacturers make the mistake of looking at how gluten-free sales compare to those of mainstream products. Since not everyone is gluten free, it’s not a good “apples-to-apples” comparison, Lieber says, because if the snack companies dug deeper into the numbers, they’d realize the gluten-free market is a growing and an underserved demographic.

Allied Market Research estimates that the market for gluten-free products, fueled by an increase in the number of people with Celiac disease and gluten intolerance, will reach $7.5 billion by 2027. According to Statista, a market and consumer data company, by 2032, the gluten-free market is projected to be valued at $14 billion, more than double the 2022 market value.

Despite this, many of my kiddo’s favorites have been killed by their manufacturers in the past couple of years. I literally cry every time one of his go-to products aren’t made anymore—and I’m not alone in feeling this way. Just go on Reddit and you’ll find entire communities of people with Celiac disease bemoaning the loss of their favorite gluten-free products. Here are a few that have gone to the graveyard, mourned by those who depended on them.

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Glutino Gluten Free Toaster Pastry

Glutino Gluten Free Toaster Pastry

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Screenshot: Amazon

“The good GF stuff keeps getting discontinued,” Redditor jrosekonungrinn writes. “First problem was our grocery store. They always stop carrying everything that I love, and bring in new GF stuff that’s not good, constantly. They rearrange the GF aisle like it’s somebody’s never ending hobby.”

The end of Glutino’s Gluten Free Toaster Pastry, which the user describes as a product “that actually tasted like strawberry Pop-Tarts,” is a loss they still mourn: “I didn’t want junk breakfast all the time, but they were a great comfort food.” Other users agree that Glutton carried the superior toaster pastry product.

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Kellogg’s Gluten-Free Rice Krispies

Kellogg’s Gluten-Free Rice Krispies

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Screenshot: Amazon

Redditor KoolJozeeKatt, who says they have been gluten free for over 15 years, lamented the loss of Kellogg’s gluten-free Rice Krispies, which have been discontinued.

“Due to disappointing sales and manufacturing constraints, we are no longer able to make Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies® Gluten Free cereal,” Kellogg’s website states. ”Kellogg’s Rice Krispies are made with malt, which comes from barley and may contain gluten.”

“I get so upset about this!” wrote KoolJozeeKatt. “A new product comes out, it’s great, and then, just when you are used to it, it’s gone. Why can’t we have good food too? Why do they always disappear? It’s so frustrating!”

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Kay’s Naturals

Kay’s Naturals

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Screenshot: Amazon

In February, less than six months after Minnesota-based Milk Specialties Global (MSG) acquired Kay’s Processing Inc with its 96,000-square-foot gluten-free-certified production plant in Clara City, Minnesota, MSG announced it would be discontinuing the Kay’s Naturals brand of snacks and cereals.

However, there might be reason to hold out hope. In a farewell Instagram post on February 28, Kay’s wrote: “With more efficient processing plants and a wide-spread network of distributors, you will again find your favorite cereals and snacks on store shelves in the future - as an extension of another brand name and quite possibly with a more affordable price tag.”

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Trader Joe’s Organic Spaghetti Sauce With Mushrooms

Trader Joe’s Organic Spaghetti Sauce With Mushrooms

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Screenshot: traderjoesreviews.com

Discontinued in late 2021, this product was organic, gluten-free, vegan and didn’t have soy. The mushrooms gave it a richness not usually found in store-bought foods. I’ve yet to find a comparable replacement.

Dozens of customers continue to beseech Trader Joe’s to bring back this reliable kitchen staple, and one reviewer sums up the difficulty of having allergy-friendly products removed from shelves:

“Another one of the best TJs items bites the dust!” they write. “The decision makers keep killing off all of the products we [go] out of our way for. We drive 25 miles to shop at TJs in Ann Arbor, MI… The products that compelled us to be a TJ customer are all gone.”

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Nature’s Path Organic Granola Vanilla Pumpkin Seed

Nature’s Path Organic Granola Vanilla Pumpkin Seed

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Screenshot: stopandshop.com

Not to be confused with the Pumpkin Seed + Flax Granola, this variety, unlike its newer counterpart, was vegan (not just vegetarian), gluten-free, nut-free, rich with plant protein (chia and pumpkin seeds), and tasted all-around fantastic.

When I couldn’t find it, I reached out to Arjan Stephens, executive vice president at Nature’s Path Organic Foods who told me in April 2020, “I’m so sorry, it’s been discontinued due to slow sales. :(”

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Jelly Belly Organic Jelly Beans

Jelly Belly Organic Jelly Beans

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Screenshot: Amazon

Jelly Belly debuted its first line of organic Jelly Belly beans in 2015 alongside organic fruit snacks. A couple of years later it was discontinued. Flavored with real fruit juices, these non-GMO, dairy-free, gluten-free jelly beans tasted as good as candy should, and they didn’t cause a rash for my son. For two years, he has begged for a replacement at Easter.

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Smashmallow Dark Chocolate Dipped Cold Brew Marshmallows

Smashmallow Dark Chocolate Dipped Cold Brew Marshmallows

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Screenshot: Amazon

My son loved, absolutely loved, these marshmallows for making s’mores. They were easy to put on gluten-free graham crackers. They were full of delicious flavor. We’d even roast them over a candle sometimes if it was too cold outside.

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Gratify Gluten Free Cinnamon Baked Bites

Gratify Gluten Free Cinnamon Baked Bites

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Screenshot: The Gluten Free Shoppe

I’d order boxes of these light and airy crackers by the case from The Gluten Free Shoppe in Brooklyn, New York. Sometimes, they’d take weeks to arrive in the Midwest. Steven Lieber, president of The Gluten Free Shoppe, told me these bites had a cult-like following and were on backorder for months, with hundreds of people on a waitlist.

“Nothing else on the market is exactly the same,” Lieber said.

A Kosher product made in Israel, Gratify is distributed by Osem Nestlé USA. I reached out to the company to see why the product was discontinued. Three phone calls into the process, all I got was, “The manufacture has stopped making these.”

Eventually, I tracked down Brian Stuckelman, Osem Nestlé USA’s vice president of sales, who told me, “There was not enough demand from our end to produce overseas.”

I think it’s a missed opportunity. Hands down these were the best “Ritz-like” gluten-free crackers I’ve ever had. Every holiday gathering included these crackers, and all my family members, gluten-free or not, liked them because they tasted great. My son ate them weekly with avocado. R.I.P., Gratify.

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