Thursday, February 19, 2015

Enjoy Life Foods Joins Mondelez International

A couple days ago, I saw news that normally would have made my heart sink...Enjoy Life Foods is joining Mondelez International. I saw a post on their Facebook page that they had exciting news to share.

I quickly clicked the link to read the announcement. I'll admit that I was initially very skeptical. Enjoy Life Foods, the company that I have come to rely on for a product that is 100% safe all of the time for me was joining forces with a company that I literally NEVER buy products from. After about the 50th phone call to Mondelez International to find out if one of their products were gluten free and being told they don't know, I gave up. No longer would I call, I would simply avoid all of their products. This is no small feat considering how incredibly large this company is which makes it incredibly hard to avoid their products. Now I was faced with a huge dilemma.

After some reflection on the topic, I commented the following on their post:

Part of the reason I went with a positive response was the amount of anger and backlash they were receiving. Part of the reason I went with a positive response was that I prefer to look at the positive side of things whenever I possibly can. Part of it was also that I've met representatives from their company multiple times. They are a company that truly does care about their customers. Mostly, it's because they are the one of the companies that has enabled me to feel truly alive without gluten.

The only complaints I've ever heard towards Enjoy Life Foods is that their products don't taste that great or that they are overpriced.  I'm not sure I've ever heard those complaints from someone who requires products that are gluten and allergen-free because they realize there really are no other options. I also understand it costs a lot more to find ingredients that aren't mainstream, and their strict manufacturing practices add to their costs also.

The reason I decided to cover this topic in my blog was actually spurred on by emails between myself and another blogger that contacted me. She was hopeful, but very concerned regarding this news. In our conversation, I said the following:
I guess what is giving me hope is that Enjoy Life is basically nothing without continuing with what their company was founded on. They make amazing products that are gluten, allergen, and gmo free, but if you were to put those same products up against other similar products that contain allergens, gluten and/or gmo's, I can't believe that they wouldn't go out of business in a heartbeat.
In my opinion, that is the bottom line. To someone who has allergies/intolerances, they need Enjoy Life Foods. If they no longer meet their allergen requirements, then they've lost those customers. In all honesty, they probably don't have many customers beyond those with the needs they are meeting. If you were to put 10 different chocolate snack bars into a blind taste test and include the Cocoa Loco bars, the Cocoa Loco bars would probably come in last or close to last. It's not because they taste bad, it's simply because when you have the option of including any ingredient, you can make a better tasting product.

I've had many friends without allergies/intolerances try their products. Some like them, some don't. I'm pretty sure only one person has ever claimed their products were inedible. That person was crazy in my opinion. If I were magically cured of all of my allergies/intolerances, I wouldn't continue purchasing their products as often, but because I believe in the company, I would purchase them occasionally. I feel products with a worthy cause are worthy of support. I know that without customers, companies go out of business.

Will I continue to be a customer of Enjoy Life Foods if they don't stick with their promises they made in their announcement? It's very unlikely. Will I be disappointed if they aren't able to lower their prices, increase distribution, and expand their product line? Yes--but only because I don't see any point in their merging with a company such as Mondelez International in that case. In the end, I'd like to say that I'm optimistic with a hint of caution regarding this announcement. I won't say cautiously optimistic only because my optimism is definitely outweighing my caution ;)

If you'd like to see another viewpoint similar to my own, I highly recommend this blog post by Celiac and the Beast. I like seeing other people being supportive and being aware of the bigger picture in this situation.

I'll continue to follow this story, and I'm definitely interested in seeing how things turn out.

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