Vermont Nut Free Chocolates — a member of the SnackSafely.com Manufacturer Partnership — was founded in 1998 by the mother of a little boy with a life-threatening peanut allergy. Gail and Mark Elvidge first learned of their son Tanner’s allergy when he suffered a reaction at eight months old.
To ensure their son’s safety, they began to thoroughly read ingredient labels and discovered that the hardest product to find for a nut allergic child was chocolate. Many chocolate companies manufacture products that contain or may contain nuts due to cross-contamination on shared production lines and facilities. This leads to the rest of the manufacturer’s products to be unsafe for those with a peanut and tree nut allergy. Not wanting Tanner to miss out on a classic childhood indulgence, Gail began making her own homemade chocolate that was 100% guaranteed nut free and safe for Tanner.
“We were the first ones to be peanut-free and tree nut-free on purpose,” recalled Mark Elvidge, president and CEO of Vermont Nut Free Chocolates, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. “It’s gone by, you know, pretty quick!”
Now, the company — whose products are already manufactured in a facility free of peanuts, tree nuts, fish, crustacean shellfish, sesame, and mustard — is pledging to remove another top allergen from their recipes: eggs. An estimated 2.6 million of 33 million Americans coping with food allergies are allergic to eggs.
“The free-from market is a growing category,” Elvidge said in an interview with NBC5 News. “More and more stores are giving more space to the free-from category.”
Click to see a WPTZ-TV news report detailing the coming change:
You can see precisely how each Vermont Nut Free product is manufactured with respect to 11 allergens in Allergence.