With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.

05 January 2009

Gluten-Free and Food Allergy Friendly "Ready-to-Eat" Meals

About a month ago, I noticed a press release for Go Picnic. This is a really neat product. It is a healthy, shelf-stable meal to take on-the-go and does not require any refrigeration or heating. The people at GoPicnic have put together convenient and "ready-to-eat" meals that aren't junk food or full of chemicals and preservatives. A number of them are food allergy friendly and gluten-free too. They come packaged in a surprisingly small cardboard container, about 4 inches by 6 inches and about 1 and 1/2 inches deep. It would fit in a briefcase, laptop bag, or carry-on very easily. I can see a lot of potential uses for them--field trips, car trips, train rides.

There are a number of GoPicnic meals to choose from including options for special diets--gluten-free, kosher, halal, and vegetarian. In addition, their kids meals do not contain any peanuts or tree nuts. I had the opportunity to try a few GoPicnic meals and they're quite tasty and satisfying. There are snack mixes, dried fruit, crackers and cheese, biscuits and jam, cookies and chocolate, and other tempting foods. Each meal came with about 6 different foods, a moist towelette, and a utensil if necessary. Most meals cost between $3.99 and $5.99. There are also deluxe meals that cost a bit more, about $7.99.

For more information, please visit the GoPicnic website, www.gopicnic.com.


Nowheymama said...

Interesting! I haven't heard of these.

Anonymous said...

The Kids Meals from GoPicnic Do say may contain nuts...am I wrong or missing something?

Unknown said...

Thanks, Nowheymama and Aonymous, for your comments.

While the kids GoPicnic meals do not contain peanuts or tree nuts as ingredients, some of the items in the kids meals are manufactured in facilities where peanuts and/or tree nuts are present. As you know, some people with nut allergies and peanut allergies are comfortable and able to eat foods that say "may contain". For those individuals, the kids GoPicnic meals may be something to consider.

When I communicated with the GoPicnic team prior to writing my post, I suggested they consider a few meals which are completely peanut-free and nut-free (in terms of ingredients and cross-contact). I believe they are exploring that now.

Anonymous said...

people may be comfortable with the "may contain peanuts" statement but the general guidlines don't recommend. Thanks for the further investigation..I love the looks of these meals but won't buy based on their manufacturing practices.

Unknown said...

I appreciate your perspective, Anonymous. I think it's critical to do what is right and comfortable for you! We're in the "same boat".

When I tried the Go Picnic meals, the first thing I did was check to see if they were "safe" for my son. Because some of the items are from facilities which use peanuts and/or tree nuts, I determined those meals were not an option for my PA son. That's just us, based on advice from our allergist, and our comfort level with following his advice to the letter.

I know we keep a more strict avoidance of peanuts than some. We have friends who are allergic to peanuts but based on their allergist's advice, are able to eat tree nuts and even eat items that "may contain peanuts". There's such a range of medical advice and comfort levels!

I think GoPicnic's biggest special diet group targeted is gluten-free, and I know they are trying to develop more meals for other restricted diets, so we may see a completely peanut-free GoPicnic meal soon. It'd be nice to see airlines hand out a GoPicnic Meal instead of a bag of peanuts, that's for sure! Another scenario I where I thought the kids meals would be handy is on school field trips. I'd be so much more comfortable if the school just offered something like a Kids GoPicnic Meal in lieu of letting PB sandwiches come along for the ride.