If you’re looking for gluten-free boxes of chocolate, you should note that many of the mainstream chocolate brands contain or may contain gluten. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
Chances are you’ve come across one of the following chocolate brands at a holiday party at the office, or someone gave you a box of chocolate for Valentine’s Day.
If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and cannot eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and sometimes oats, you might be wondering if it’s safe to eat candies manufactured by some of the most popular brands like Russell Stover, See’s Candies, Whitman, and Godiva.
In this post, I share what the most popular chocolate brands say about gluten and share which ones are safe to consume on a gluten-free diet.
Please note that brands may change their ingredient formulations or use different facilities for manufacturing different flavors, most likely holiday varieties. The most accurate and best information about a product’s ingredients will be on the packaging itself. Read both the ingredient statement and any “may contains” statements.
What These Chocolate Brands Say about Gluten
Here’s what several mainstream chocolate brands say about gluten:
Ferrero Rocher: Ferrero Rocher foil-wrapped chocolate and hazelnut candies contain wheat flour and are NOT gluten free.
Frango Mints: I have loved Frango Mints for decades and used to buy them at Marshall Fields in Chicago. When Macy’s acquired Marshall Fields, it also took over the beloved candy brand. Today, Frango Mints are manufactured for Macy’s by Gertrude Hawk Chocolates.
Frango Mint chocolates do not contain any gluten ingredients. However, each box of chocolate displays a “May Contain Egg, Peanut, Tree Nuts, Wheat” statement. Many companies add these statements because these allergens are present in their facilities or in the facilities where they source their raw ingredients. They must disclose this information per The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA).
I’ve submitted a request to Gertrude Hawk Chocolates to find out if the “may contain” statement is due to the potential of cross-contact with wheat due to a shared manufacturing facility or shared equipment. More info to come.
In the meantime, I have to admit, this is one candy I absolutely love. Because it contains no gluten ingredients, I’ve tested various boxes of Frango Mints numerous times with my Nima Sensor, a portable gluten-detecting device. Every time I test a new box, I get the same smiley face result. A smiley face means Nima didn’t find any gluten.
Ghirardelli: Many Ghirardelli baking chocolates are gluten free. According to the company website, Ghiradelli 60%, 72%, 86%, and 92% cacao bars and squares are made without gluten-containing ingredients, as are the milk chocolate baking chips, semisweet baking chips, and 60% baking chips and baking bars. Ghirardelli adds that consumers should review the ingredient statements on the packaging before consuming any product.
After reading several packaging labels, it looks like the chocolate squares might also be free from gluten-containing ingredients, including the gingerbread cookie chocolate squares, which do not contain wheat and instead contains a cookie made of rice flour.
Godiva: Godiva says that the most accurate information about a product will be on the package label. The company adds that if a product in the U.S. contains wheat or a Canadian product contains wheat, triticale, or other sources of gluten, it will be listed in the ingredient statement or below the ingredient statement.
Godiva says it has procedures in place to mitigate cross-contact of allergens with its other products. If there is concern about potential cross-contact of an allergen, the company says it will include a may-contain statement on the product’s label. Some Godiva chocolates may contain wheat or malt (barley), beware.
Hershey’s: Hershey’s says it has fully evaluated several of its products to ensure they qualify as gluten free per the gluten-free guidelines set forth by the FDA. You can view a list of gluten-free products by Hershey’s on its website. I also list several gluten-free Hershey’s chocolates in my Gluten-Free Candy Guide. Hershey’s says that the best way to determine if a product contains gluten is to read the product label carefully, especially given that ingredients and formulations can change.
Lindt: Lindt says that gluten can be found in several of its premium chocolate products either as a cereal ingredient or as a barley component. The company adds that some of its premium chocolates are made with cereal or barley mart, including its EXCELLENT chocolate bars. Read labels carefully and beware when eating Lindt chocolates, as there is a slight risk of gluten cross-contamination.
Russell Stover: Russell Stover says that most of its products do not contain gluten ingredients, and if they do, like the S’mores, wheat is clearly shown in the ingredient list. However, the company admits that its products containing wheat are produced on equipment used to make products containing gluten, so the company says it “cannot rule out the possibility of cross-contact despite efforts to prevent it.”
See’s Candies: See’s Candies are the darling of gluten-free boxed chocolates because every single candy produced by See’s Candies is gluten free. Its facility doesn’t make any candies that contain gluten. I also tested See’s Candies for hidden gluten with my gluten-detecting device. You can see how it fared in my article, Are See’s Candies Gluten Free?
Whitman’s Chocolates: In 1993, Russell Stover acquired Whitman’s Chocolate. See Russell Stover (above) for information about gluten in its products. Please note I reviewed the ingredient label of a Whitman’s Assorted Chocolate Sampler, and while it doesn’t contain any gluten ingredients, it says, “May contain wheat.”