When casting around for questions for this week’s “Ask Anything” post, Jenna received a variation of this one fairly often:
Your peanut butter icing was the best and I am super disappointed that you decided to go nut-free in any store but in ALL your stores?!
When I opened PGB and decided to include nuts in the menu, I researched the # of people who have a nut allergy and the percentages are not high: about 3% of Canadians have a peanut allergy and the same percentage have a tree nut allergy.
What I didn’t realize then is that a big share of our business would come from those people who are buying cupcakes and cakes for other people and events, from family gatherings to school picnics to weddings.
Those people – the hosts, parents, teachers, event planners – need to buy not only for their personal likes and dislikes but also for everyone attending the event.
For guests who are vegan or gluten intolerant, it is easy for an order to include some GF and V cupcakes. We see this a lot: big orders for events that are mostly “traditional baking” but with a dozen or so each of vegan and gluten free cupcakes. Produced and packaged separately, event planners can be satisfied that their vegan and gluten free attendees can safely consume these products.
However, for nut allergies, the rules surrounding products at an event are much stricter which is appropriate given that these allergies are life-threatening. For this reason, at PGB we have always recommended that none of our products be included at an event in a nut-free venue or taken to events where someone has a nut allergy.
After a great deal of thought, we decided that we could replace our daily-menu peanut butter-based cupcakes with equally popular flavours (Funfetti and Oreo) and also sub in some new Treats for those that feature nuts. Our goal was to have the PGB sparkle part of more events and welcome at schools and other nut-free facilities.
The recipe for the Peanut Butter Icing is in our cookbook but we totally understand that many of our customers will miss Chocolate Peanut Butter and Banana Peanut Butter on our shelves.
In a future post I will answer part (b) of this question: why not keep at least one store with nuts?