Kudos to Wawa for their gluten free honesty. Just a few questions…

is wawa celiac safe?

If you are on Twitter, you know there are a number of ads placed within your feed. It’s crazy (and when I say crazy, I mean scary) how tailored the ads are to their audiences. Must be the chip implanted in me when I got the vaccine. Darn you Bill Gates!!! 🙂

Lately, one ad has been coming up again and again. It’s an ad for Wawa and their new “gluten conscious” menu.

wawa gluten conscious

Gluten CONSCIOUS is the first thing that caught my eye. So I clicked on the link and it brought me to the wrong page. It took me to their “calorie conscious” page, whose first two items listed were a Brioche Bun and an English Muffin. C’mon Wawa…all that money and can’t proof your social media ads? So I clicked on the Gluten Conscious tab and voila…a list of all of their gluten conscious items.

Under the page title is the following:

Choose from the ingredients below to create meals that are made without gluten (see note below, these are not certified gluten free).

Ok…cool…they seem to get the difference between gluten-free and gluten-FREE. So I scroll through the page and at the bottom is this note (in big bold text):

The ingredients and recipes listed above are all made without gluten but are not certified gluten free. These ingredients share storage and preparation areas with gluten containing products, therefore, cross-contamination through our supply chain and in our store environment is possible. These products are not suitable for people with Celiac Disease, gluten sensitivity or a wheat allergy.

Honesty? In the corporate world where it’s profit first every single time? What a concept. Serious kudos to Wawa for the disclaimer. I’ve always said that companies can do what they want, as long as they do not mislead the celiac community.

But you know me…I’m an inquisitive guy. I love asking questions. How else am I supposed to get the answers? So while I do indeed appreciate their honesty, here are a few questions I have for the Wawa folks.

Question: Who is this actually for? If you recommend it’s not for people with Celiac Disease, gluten sensitivity or a wheat allergy, what other category is there? What am I missing? Folks who think you can lose weight by going gluten-free?

Question: Will there be the disclaimer clearly visible in all locations?

Question: Will you train your staff worldwide on the proper cross-contamination protocols? Cause you know some people with celiac disease will either 1) not see the disclaimer; or 2) see it and throw caution to the wind.

Question: Can we come up with a better term than “gluten conscious”? It reminds me of something Gwyneth Paltrow would come up with. Panera used the same term in 2015 when they introduced gluten-free bread. It didn’t go well.

Question: Does this Bus Stop at 82nd Street? Sorry…had to throw a Springsteen reference in here.

Any other questions you have?

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14 thoughts on “Kudos to Wawa for their gluten free honesty. Just a few questions…”

  1. That’s exactly what I was thinking when I read this (so who are they marketing to if not celiac, gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy)? What’s the point then?

  2. I agree- kudos to them for their honesty. However, in a way, it sort of absolves them of any responsibility for training their staff properly or catering to us in any way (cleaning surfaces, changing gloves or utensils, etc.) Also, it’s always a nice CYA in the case of litigious customers.
    So that being said, it’s for the fad dieters or the Celiacs / GS people who don’t care about cross contamination (I know they’re out there!) It certainly doesn’t help the rest of us, unfortunately.

  3. I like hearing “gluten conscious” much more than the BS cop-out “gluten friendly” some places have tried.

  4. Danielle Halbig

    Many people with Autoimmune conditions like (Thyroid/Hashimoto’s disease) are gluten free for the anti-inflammatory effect. I have been GF for 5 yrs due to Hashimoto’s, I lost puffiness and my long time psoriasis resolved. I eat all GF and any incidental cross-contamination doesn’t give me any major side effects.

  5. Some people who are Paleo, for instance, don’t care about CC, but they want to be “grain free” so they’d get a cross contaminated Cobb salad and be fine with that. Before I knew I had CD, I used the keto/paleo diet and it halfway helped. I could go into a convenience store and buy a salad and deviled eggs and a coffee and have lunch. Not anymore.

    I’m not sure the new labels help much. They also introduced “Lower Sodium, Lower Sugar Drinks, Power, Meatless, and Balanced Fare.” I mean, people made choices about what to eat long before these “diet wars” began. I think as long as they have options that fit those “lifestyle” choices they will make a buck on it. But when they use the allergy or gluten labeling along with the lifestyle choices, then they give the impression that gluten free is a lifestyle choice, when it’s a medical diet with a regulated definition. They’re relying on the weasel phrase gluten conscious to free them of the 20 ppm requirement.

    They already have many items in the store that are gluten free, and are packaged goods without CC. This seems so unnecessary. But I agree, I appreciate the candor and openness.

    The best thing they could add that I’d actually buy would be Boar’s Head, Jones or Dietz and Watson prepackaged GF meat. I think because they have a deli there, they don’t think about that. But for a person with Celiac that’s what actually works.

    I wonder if the refrigerated premade triangular sandwiches have any GF choices yet? It seems like such an obvious thing. I haven’t left my house much in the past year. 😉 But that would work too, if they really wanted to help.

  6. they’re rap seem clear– I would stay away– but I know many folks who eat gluten free for their health but are not concerned with cross contamination—- my only question— what the hell is a wawa—( I do know what a wha-wha pedal is)

    1. It’s a fancy convenience store, more like a small supermarket with a deli. Further south the competitor would be Sheetz.

  7. Thanks Dude for sharing this article. Wow Who the heck is WaWa’s target audience if it’s fake gluten-free food with all the disclaimers that we all seek to just say, no, it’s not safe. It’s a huge risk just like any other non GF food. This is super odd and quite sad. I don’t see this as progress. They could be labeling, “reduced gluten – cross contaminated food.” Aka, nothing safe about it for anyone who really needs this food. “Gluten Free” labeling continues to be a joke.

  8. I do appreciate the honesty but I am also increasingly frustrated by companies that want to have their cake and eat it too when it comes to gluten free labels. They want to advertise gluten free or made without gluten, and will do so in a way that is meant to appeal to celiacs, but then they really aren’t taking the efforts to have dedicated facilities and certification (and even certification organizations are starting to succumb to the money companies are paying them: just look at GIG’s arrangement with Freshly: similar warning, but they are certified—–this should give celiacs pause, when gluten free certification comes with warning about being made in the presence of gluten ingredients and we all having to make our own decision about what is healthy for us with our doctor). The bottom line for me as a celiac is I am tired of them shifting that responsibility on to me, when my goal is to find companies that are actively doing the right things to avoid cross contamination. This is an illness that has one known effective treatment: the gluten free diet. We can’t get healthy when companies keep pulling this stuff. Heck I was at Stop n Shop the other day in the meat section and they were coating the same cutting board with flour for their chicken parmigiana as they used to cut their beef and package (and by current standards that beef is still considered gluten free because meat and produce are special categories). I love your blog, and I do appreciate the honesty but I would really like to see more done to effect real change for celiacs

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