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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Post # 150 - War on Celiac: Kellogg is Too Lazy - 5/15/2010

Dear Kellogg,

Imagine being told by a doctor that your body can no longer handle most of your favorite foods. Pizza, beer, sandwiches, most crackers, pretzels, pastries, and most restaurants that don’t have the word Chinese in the title. All gone forever. This is the case for one out of 130 people. Large companies decide whether it makes fiscal sense to cater to their loyal consumers. Most don’t really change anything.

Several of my patients have celiac. This means that they can’t have ANY gluten. By all of my research on the internet, you offer exactly three gluten-free products—Eggo Syrup, Yogo’s, and Fruit Snacks. I get really annoyed when you send them tome, to ask them to consult their physician, regarding Rice Krispies (which contain Malt Flavoring) and Corn Pops (which contain wheat starch). Any physician worth his salt is going to say “NO”.

General Mills has five types of Gluten-Free Chex: Rice Chex, Corn Chex, Chocolate Chex, Cinnamon Chex, and Honey Nut Chex. They seem to get it.

I realize that this probably means separate, gluten-free facilities and supply chains, and that this probably seems like a lot of work.

Keep this in mind. My mom has Celiac. There were times in the early 1980’s when cereal prices jumped. People were struggling to find and keep jobs. Putting food on the table was difficult. When many switched to big bags of generic cereal, my mom stuck with Kellogg. Because she believed in supporting local (Michigan) businesses.

Now it’s your turn to return the favor.


Dr. Jerry

From: Kellogg Consumer Affairs
Subject: Consumer Affairs 020932220A
Date: Fri, 4 Jun 2010 -0500


Thank you for contacting us to request information about our products that do not contain gluten.

Thank you so much for sharing the story of your mother. I'm very pleased to hear that you have been long time Kellogg's® Consumers!

Having several family members myself with celiac disease and I can understand your concern for more gluten free products.

Kellogg is aware that many consumers need special dietary foods, especially those with celiac disease. While we do not currently offer any cereal or waffle products that are formulated to be gluten free, this is an area that we are exploring. I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused!

We do offer a couple of products free from gluten-containing ingredients besides the items that you mentioned. These include Kellogg's™ Special K™ Protein Water Mixes and Kellogg's™ Special K™ Protein Shakes.

Please be assured that your comments and desire for gluten free products will be passed along to our food developers and nutritionists.

Consumer Specialist
Consumer Affairs

To: Kellogg Consumer Affairs
Subject: RE: Consumer Affairs 020932220A
Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2010 -0400

 Dear Nikki,

Thanks for the response.  As someone with relatives that also have Celiac, you can probably understand my frustration.  Companies shouldn't be telling people that "Depending on gluten sensitivity, products X, Y, and Z might be suitable for persons on a gluten restricted diet".  Celiac isn't a gluten restricted diet.  It's a gluten-free diet.

Companies don't push products on diabetics that "only have a little sugar".  Celiac should be treated with the same sensitivity.  As more and more people are diagnosed with this disease, the demands for gluten-free products will also increase.  In an industry focused on market share, Kellogg is tied for last place.  And as one who tries to support Michigan companies, this pains me to see.

Dr. Jerry
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