I love Kernels Popcorn, and we buy at least one bag of it every time we visit the mall. I recently had the opportunity to chat with them about their allergen and gluten policies, and I’m very happy with what I learned.
Their ingredients do not contain peanuts or tree nuts at any of their Canadian stores.* They take care to purchase raw materials from nut-free HACCP certified suppliers with the very best manufacturing processes. The stores receive these raw materials and make the popcorn on site in sunflower oil.
Kernels Popcorn is now gluten free as well. This is incredible news for the gluten free community looking for a safe ready made snack.
Kernels is very responsible about declaring the allergens they do have on site. You can view the ingredient lists and allergen information on their website by clicking here, and I’ll summarize a few points below:
|Dairy||Dairy is in the ingredients of most flavors. The new buttersalt flavor does not contain dairy, nor does the ketchup flavor. Be sure to request the new buttersalt formulation, as the old formulation did contain dairy.|
|Egg||The old buttersalt flavor that is still used for some fundraising programs contains both dairy and egg. Be sure to request the new buttersalt formulation. For this reason, all flavors indicate cross-contamination with egg.|
|Sulphites||The parts per million are disclosed in the flavors which contain these.|
|Soy||The company uses highly refined soybean oil or soy lecithin in some flavors.|
|Wheat||Effective September 1, 2011, all flavors are gluten-free. Please disregard any reference to traces of wheat in the allergen statements, if the list you see hasn’t been updated.|
If you are allergic to dairy, egg, or soy, once you locate a flavor that does not contain your allergen, you can call your store ahead of time to place an allergy aware order to reduce the risk of cross contamination from other flavors. Inform the store of your allergy, ask for your flavor to be the first popping of the day since the machine will be freshly cleaned, and ask them to bag it immediately rather than place it in their bins. You can also ask that the cooking area be wiped down first and that only freshly washed scoops be used. If you order a flavor they normally carry, there should be no minimum order. If you ask for a flavor not normally in their line up, you may need to order a minimum of two large bags.
I was excited to learn that Kernels Popcorn has aligned its fundraising bags and recipes to comply with the new “School Food And Beverage Policy” which covers food sold in cafeterias, vending machines and tuck shops, all programs including catered lunch programs, and all events on school property including bake sales and sporting events. In fact, Kernels Popcorn falls into the “sell most” category. Products in the sell most category are the healthiest options and generally have higher levels of essential nutrients and lower amounts of fat, sugar, and/or sodium.
I’m going to speak to my school principal and parent council about using Kernels Popcorn for school fundraising. I cringe every time chocolate bars are used for fundraising, since normally they’re not safe for my son, and we all eat enough candy already. It a great idea to use Kernels popcorn instead, and one way to use it is to set up a weekly popcorn day when students sell it to raise funds. At our school, the Spirit Club ran this program and students could buy popcorn for a snack at lunch.
You can also set up a school wide fundraiser, and Kernels makes this easy: They provide you with sales order sheets, posters to print, fundraising sales tools, and even an e-mail notification that the school can send out to parents. Incentives can be set up like a gift card for the student who raises the most money, or donated popcorn for an end of year party. To find out more or to arrange a fundraiser, contact Loreta Miskinis, Vice President and General Manager of Kernels Popcorn by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 416 487-4194 x220. Please tell her that Elizabeth from Onespot Allergy sent you.
Kernels Popcorn also has a great corporate gift program. Their popcorn is packaged in decorative tins, and these make gift giving simple: All you need to do is provide them with your gift list, the product you’d like to send, and the message you’d like on the cards, and they’ll create the custom order for you. To find out more or to arrange a custom order, you can visit your local store or contact Yael Staiman, Manager Generation K by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 416 487-4194 x212. Smaller orders can also be placed online by clicking here. Not surprisingly, some companies have been placing the same Christmas gift order with them for 20 years. Prices for corporate gifts range from about $15 to $55.
Kernels has one other program I’m excited to share: You can get Kernels Popcorn in bulk for your events. If you contact Yael at the contact information above or your local store, you can bring the popcorn to your corporate event, your restaurant, hotel, bar, or catering company, or even to your wedding. Brides have ordered grab bags for snacks at the bar, as part of the dessert table, incorporated popcorn into their center pieces, or repackaged it as party favors in cellophane bags.
Overall, Kernels Popcorn is a great company with excellent allergen policies I trust. I highly recommend that you try them. My favorite flavor is Say Cheese Cheese. Have fun finding out what flavor is your favorite.
* The Kernels Popcorn store in the Arcadia Mall in Santa Anita, California produces peanut flavors, and this store fills US orders. If you have a peanut or nut allergy, it would not be safe for you. Canadian orders are filled though the Canadian “no nut” stores.
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