Why isn’t all chocolate gluten free?

Why isn’t all chocolate gluten free?

In its purest form, chocolate in any of its milk, dark and white varieties doesn’t contain gluten. Sadly for chocoholic coeliacs everywhere, the reason all chocolate isn’t gluten free is because some products have gluten-based ingredients added, or they are made in a factory where gluten is used.

Pure chocolate tastes bitter and far different to the bars that grace our confectionery shelves. Therefore, you’ll find that almost all chocolate has some extra ingredients added. Problematically for people with coeliac disease, these can include barley malt, wheat flour and dextrose or glucose syrups containing wheat.

Most confectionery companies create several different variants of the same chocolate (that can often contain wafer or biscuit pieces), and it becomes difficult for a manufacturer to guarantee that chocolate produced in the same factories will not be affected by cross contamination.

That being said, there are many gluten free chocolate bars, but if you have coeliac disease, you will need to stay vigilant and check the ingredient lists carefully.

Popular chocolate brands that are gluten free

Navigating the chocolate aisles trying to find bars suitable when you are diagnosed with coeliac disease can seem like a daunting task, but there’s plenty of obvious omissions you can make straightaway.

Anything containing wafer is out, making products like KitKats and Kinder Buenos easy to omit. Likewise, bars such as a Twix or Double Decker that contain biscuit pieces instead are clearly to be avoided too.

Somewhat less obvious to look out for though, are the crispy shells that are found on items such as Smarties. Smarties are made using wheat flour, though thankfully standard M&Ms are not. Whilst that makes for an easy substitution for Smarties fans, it also highlights just how much care you need to take when choosing between seemingly similar items.

Below, you’ll find a list of some of the main confectionery brands, and what chocolate is gluten free within their ranges. Whilst all care has been taken in compiling this list, it’s worth keeping in mind that manufacturers can change their recipes at any time without consumers necessarily hearing about it. For that reason, it’s always best to check an ingredients list just in case of any recent changes to your old favourites.

Or for the latest information, we recommend visiting Coeliac UK who have a food and drink directory, a list of all products suitable for a gluten free diet.

Cadbury

Despite seemingly being one of the simplest chocolate bars on the market, Dairy Milk has a ‘may contain wheat’ on their label. Helpfully though, consumers can filter chocolate on Cadbury’s site by different dietary requirements, one of which being the presence of wheat. Amongst its most popular products, Crunchies, Twirls, Wispas and Flakes are all gluten free chocolate bars.

Nestle

Whilst Nestle’s big hitters such as KitKat and Smarties are not suitable, there’s still plenty of choice in the rest of their range. It may be a little trickier to find than Cadbury’s list, but nevertheless, Nestle do offer a list of their gluten free products on their site. Within that list are favourites such as After Eights, Walnut Whips, Milkybar Buttons and Peppermint Aero Bubbles.

Toblerone

Great news for people with coeliac disease, Toblerone have stated on the FAQ section of their site that “All Toblerone flavours do not contain any gluten ingredients”. So whether it’s the classic Toblerone that you used to receive at Christmas, or the newer white chocolate version you prefer, people with coeliac disease are well catered for.

Green & Black’s

As you might expect from a brand that prides itself on using organic and natural ingredients, Green & Blacks tend to add less extra ingredients to their chocolate. This means that a large amount of their chocolate doesn’t contain any gluten. Unfortunately, they’ve also made it clear that they can’t guarantee there isn’t a risk of cross contamination from their factories, making it a judgement call for people with coeliac disease to decide if they’re happy or not to take the risk.

Mars

Given the mention of ‘malt’ in their name, there’s no surprise that Maltesers are not gluten free. Unfortunately neither are Mars Bars and some sizes of Galaxy chocolate. The remaining gluten free options from Mars isn’t a large selection, but thankfully a few favourites such as Snickers, Bounty and M&Ms don’t contain any gluten.

Reese’s

The American confectionery giant is starting to find its feet in the UK, with its products becoming more and more readily available on this side of the Atlantic now. The good news for people with coeliac disease who enjoy their chocolate is that their famous peanut butter cups are listed as gluten free.

Hershey’s

Reese’s parent company Hershey’s are also starting to become more commonplace on British supermarket shelves. Both their signature milk chocolate bars and Hershey’s Kisses are free from gluten.

Kinder

Luckily for those with children with coeliac disease, Kinder’s Surprise Eggs use gluten free chocolate. Their standard chocolate bars often seen in multipacks are free of gluten-based ingredients too. Unfortunately, Happy Hippos are wafer based however, and are to be avoided for those following a gluten free diet.

Thorntons

Thorntons state on their site that they use wheat-based glucose syrup or dextrose in many of their products. Although they don’t offer a list of those products that don’t contain these ingredients, they do remind the consumer to look for glucose syrup or dextrose on the ingredients list of each item. There’s still plenty of choice for people with coeliac disease though, with their Salted Pistachio Chocolate Block, 70% Dark Chilli Chocolate Block and Continental Cappuccino Bar all offering gluten free solutions.

Terry’s

Often popular around Christmas time and other holidays, Terry’s manufactures a number of gift boxes as well as the famous Chocolate Orange. Unfortunately for coeliacs, there is no version of a Chocolate Orange that doesn’t contain gluten. Their selection box of All Gold however, appears to be made up of gluten free chocolates.

If you are struggling to find your favourite chocolate product, bear in mind that in the Free From section of the supermarkets, specialist manufacturers also offer gluten free chocolate. Our sister brand, Schär, has a range of gluten free chocolate bars and wafers, visit their website for more information.

Identifying gluten free chocolate products

For those that have only recently been diagnosed with coeliac disease, we have a helpful section that will walk you through the basics of what to look out for. Even if you’re a long-time coeliac though, you may find that you struggle when identifying potential problem ingredients within chocolate. Whilst many will be aware of a lot of the main culprits when it comes to checking food labels, it isn’t always easy to spot which chocolate is gluten free.

Keep an eye out for these gluten-based ingredients in particular: barley malt, wheat flour, malt syrup, and some glucose syrups and dextrose.

Anything containing cookie pieces, biscuit chunks or wafer centres are obviously not suitable for people with coeliac disease either.

Recipes with gluten free chocolate

If you have coeliac disease, you need to stay clear of any chocolate bars containing biscuit pieces such as a Twix or Boost, but there’s still ways in which you can satisfy a crunchy chocolate craving.

We boast a number of recipes (including some for cookies and biscuits) that are quick and simple to make from scratch. Glutafin’s flour mixes act as an alternative to standard flour, making it possible to create delicious treats like these gluten free Select Toblerone cookies or gluten free peanut butter choc chip cookies!

Sometimes nothing but the chewy goodness of a chocolate brownie will do, and you’ll be pleased to hear that you don’t have to give those up either. Using Glutafin’s multipurpose fibre mix, you can make these beautiful gluten free vegan chocolate brownies and many more culinary creations!

What happens if I’m diagnosed with coeliac disease and eat non-gluten free chocolate?

If you are diagnosed with coeliac disease, it is extremely important that you stick to your gluten free diet, avoiding any foods that contain gluten, including chocolate.

Is cocoa gluten free?

Cocoa powder is naturally gluten free, however, we would recommend checking drinking chocolate, along with chocolate added to cappuccinos. Coeliac UK has a full list on their website of hot drinks which are gluten free.

Can I drink hot chocolate if I’m diagnosed coeliac?

Yes, you can drink hot chocolate if you are diagnosed with coeliac disease. We would recommend that you check the ingredients label however, as not all brands are gluten free and some may have been prepared in a factory where cross contamination might be present. Coeliac UK has a full list on their website.

Which supermarkets offer the best range of gluten free chocolate?

All UK supermarkets offer a range of gluten free chocolate, usually found in the Free From aisle. Many mainstream chocolate bars are also naturally gluten free, but it is important to check the ingredients.

© 2021. Glutafin. Dr. Schär UK Ltd. 401 Faraday Street, Birchwood Park, Warrington, WA3 6GA
© 2021. Glutafin. Dr. Schär UK Ltd. 401 Faraday Street, Birchwood Park, Warrington, WA3 6GA