Becoming nut free

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Changing to a nut-free bakery in 2019 deserves a 10/10 rating, but like many worthwhile projects in life, it was a lotta work especially as we were doing it at the same time as building our Woodbine store (we wanted to open that store without ever having had nuts in it).

The hardest part was finding all the supplies. They must of course have a nut-free ingredient list but also cannot contain a statement such as “may contain nuts”, meaning they came from a plant that manufactures other products with nuts, in even an infinitesimal amount.

There were many other tasks related to being nut free such as changing over all the piping bags, discarding ingredients that contained nuts, doing a massive clean of the existing bakeries, changing the website, instore menu boards and menu cards, and implementing appropriate policies for the team, but it was the supply chain challenge that really took the time.

So doing all the work (divided among the bakers, the catering team and me) was one “con” and another was the feedback we received from some customers about losing Chocolate Peanut Butter and Banana Peanut Butter from the daily menu and many of our most popular Treats of the Week such as Nutella and Peanut Butter Cup. We do all we can to make our customers happy – not sad!- so it wasn’t fun letting down those people who were pretty devoted to our PB icing.

But the “pros” are many:
– We can cater to schools and many more birthday parties now
– Our products can be included at events attended by people with nut allergies
– People with nut allergies can come into our stores and buy anything they want
– Our replacement Daily Menu flavors, Oreo and Funfetti are, as it turns out, more popular than the PB ones
– Like anything, once we got into the rhythm of ordering only ingredients that are nut free, it has become second nature to us and to our suppliers
– We’ve made some wonderful new connections such as the great people who run the City Allergy Guide, the producer at the Marilyn Denis show who has always admired our products from afar but now can order them herself (she has a nut allergy) and some very nice people at the school boards.

So, I am glad we did it – and glad that it is done!

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Jean

About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean is the president of Toronto's best cupcake and cake bakery - Prairie Girl Bakery. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock

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