Finding allergy safe foods online can be both challenging and costly for food allergy and gluten-free families. Many families have taken to online shopping during the pandemic which can make finding safe-to-eat food even more difficult.
Our Allergy Shop was created with sole purpose of making the great resources in the community more readily available and affordable. But before you begin looking for safe-to-eat products, there are important questions you should consider first:
What Does a Site Mean by "Free From?"
Free from can be hard to define because there are many different allergens (over 200!) so nothing can ever be truly "free from" all allergens. The term usually refers to the top allergens recognized in the country where the product is sold. In the United States, that means the top-8 allergens.
The other half of this question then is, "If the ingredient is not listed, is it free from that allergen?" This is one of the hardest questions when evaluating a product.
For the sake of safety, we say no. Our Allergy Shop has stringent criteria for every product added. We let visitors sort by the allergen(s) they avoid, with 16 unique allergens and future plans to add even more options.
A product that doesn't contain egg, for example, will NOT show up in the egg free category. Products only get listed as "egg free" if they're made in a dedicated egg-free facility. The same can be said for all 16 of our allergen categories.
How Do Companies Get Listed on Websites?
There are some incredible databases for allergy safe foods online. There are also some not-so-great ones. The challenge as a food allergic family is understanding which is which. The first thing to evaluate when ordering food online should be how that website, app, or influencer admits new companies.
The Allergy Shop has a 3-step approval process to help ensure the integrity of each and every company with whom we work. A potential vendor must register their company on the site and then apply for space in the Shop. Along the way, our team will research the company, speak with members of the team, and ask about the manufacturing process before approving the profile.
A company is only allowed to start adding products after they've completed these steps. A product must be manually reviewed by our team to check how it's listed before it goes live in the Shop. This ensures that the language used, categories where the item will appear, and other logistical elements are consistent with our standards.
What if I'm Not Sure?
You may still have questions when viewing a product, despite our procedures, before you're comfortable trying a new food. It's completely fine to not be sure!
We're founded by members of the food allergy community and are all too familiar with that feeling of uncertainty. That's why we make sure to include every manufacturer's contact information on each product page. If you ever have a question that you can't find the answer to in the Allergy Shop, you'll have a direct line to their contact center to get the information you need.
Save when You Order Allergy Safe Foods Online
The other mission behind the Allergy Shop is making safe products affordable. That's why we built the Premium Membership. Our company forgoes making commission from our vendors. We instead pass these savings (usually 10% or more) onto our premium members. The membership costs as low as $4 per month and the average saving on orders is at least that much.
You can learn more about a Premium Allergy Shop Membership here.
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