Many of us have wondered, “Is Root Beer gluten-free?”
Now, some of you may be wondering why one would even have to ask. It’s a beverage, not bread. However, most dark colas are made to look that way with an ingredient called caramel color.
Caramel color is tricky to know with certainty whether it is processed using wheat or not. Even with the 365 brand, it stated that the caramel color was made from cane sugar. But does that mean it’s only cane sugar? There was no gluten-free indicator on the bottle and I am wary when they don’t label something as gluten-free. So, my fiancee’ (who is quite the thorough food investigator) wrote an email to Whole Foods to ask about the processing of the caramel color from cane sugar in the 365 brand sodas.
I must say that given the bit of push-back that I usually encounter when I am calling or investigating food ingredients, I was quite pleased when he received this initial response:
“Thanks for contacting us. I have a four year old with life threatening food allergies as well, so I know exactly how hard this can all be, and especially how important it is to us as parents to make sure they can have as inclusive and “normal” a diet as possible. I will reach out to the soda vendor and see what information I can get about the sugar. I doubt I hear back from them today, but I will let you know as soon as I do.
Just for the future, if you have any other questions about our private label line, you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a little more direct than the web site, if that is easier for you.
I will be in touch as soon as I hear from the vendor on the sugar.”
That was a super friendly and helpful response!!! We were happy to wait a few days. When we heard back from the representative, this is what we received:
“I heard back from our vendor and there is no possibility of gluten in the caramel coloring; they even have a gluten free certification on file. I hope this helps – please let me know if you need anything else!
If you have any further questions please use our online response form.”
So, with that, we called in my son and told him the exciting news! Today, we paired it with our homemade coconut milk non-dairy ice cream and made a root beer float. He had never had one before. He absolutely loved it.
What a great way to celebrate the joy of safe eating!