Gluten free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people choosing to avoid gluten for health or lifestyle reasons. For those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, eating gluten free is a medical necessity. For others, going gluten free is a choice aimed at reducing inflammation, losing weight, or simply feeling better.
Whatever the motivation, finding tasty gluten free snacks and treats can be a challenge. Pretzels are a popular gluten containing snack, but thankfully there are some gluten free pretzel options on the market. One such option is Snyders of Hanover’s line of gluten free pretzels. But are they truly gluten free? Do they contain any hidden sources of gluten? Let’s take a closer look.
About Snyders Gluten Free Pretzels
Snyders of Hanover is a popular pretzel brand that has been around since 1909. In recent years, in order to cater to the growing gluten free market, they have released a line of gluten free pretzels in several delicious flavors including Original, Honey Mustard & Onion, Hot Buffalo Wing, and Cinnamon Sugar.
According to the product packaging and the company’s website, these pretzels are certified gluten free, containing less than 20 parts per million of gluten. They are made in a dedicated gluten free facility and the brand claims to extensively test both the ingredients and finished products to ensure they meet gluten free standards.
Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients in Snyders gluten free pretzels:
– Brown rice flour – Used as the main ingredient to give the pretzels their texture. Rice flour is naturally gluten free.
– Potato starch – Added to help bind the pretzels. Potato starch does not contain gluten.
– Sunflower oil – Used to give the pretzels their crispy, crunchy texture when baked. Sunflower oil is gluten free.
– Sugar – Usually made from beet or cane sugar which are gluten free sources.
– Salt – Table salt is gluten free.
– Maltodextrin – Can sometimes be made from wheat but according to Snyders, the maltodextrin used in these pretzels is gluten free.
– Spices – Added for flavor in the seasoned pretzel varieties. Most spices are naturally gluten free.
– Soy lecithin – An emulsifier made from soybeans, used in small amounts. Soy lecithin is gluten free.
– Paprika extract – For color. Paprika is a gluten free spice.
– Honey – Used in the Honey Mustard & Onion variety. Pure honey is gluten free.
In addition to using gluten free ingredients, the way the pretzels are manufactured is important to consider when determining if gluten could be introduced.
Snyders produces their gluten free pretzels in a dedicated facility in Newmanstown, Pennsylvania. This means that only gluten free foods are made on the equipment used for the gluten free pretzels. This helps prevent any cross contamination with gluten containing grains.
The brand states that they adhere to strict quality control measures and conduct extensive gluten testing during the manufacturing process. Tested areas include the ingredients, surfaces the pretzels come in contact with, and the finished pretzels themselves.
Third Party Certifications
Snyders gluten free pretzels are certified gluten free by two organizations:
1. Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) – This group’s certification involves ensuring ingredients and facilities are gluten free through on-site inspections and product testing.
2. GFCO – The Gluten Free Certification Organization also inspects manufacturing facilities and processes. Certified products must contain less than 10ppm of gluten.
These trusted third party certifications help provide assurance that Snyders pretzels adhere to strict standards and safety protocols when it comes to gluten.
So Are Snyders Gluten Free Pretzels Really Gluten Free?
Based on a thorough look at the ingredients lists, manufacturing practices, and third party certifications, Snyders gluten free pretzels appear to live up to their claims of being gluten free and safe for those on a gluten free diet.
Here are some key points that support Snyders pretzels being gluten free:
– All ingredients used are naturally gluten free whole foods like rice flour and potatoes. No questionable ingredients.
– Dedicated gluten free facility minimizes any risk of cross contamination.
– Extensive testing conducted for presence of gluten.
– Trusted third party certifications back up the gluten free claims.
While no food can be guaranteed 100% gluten free due to risk of trace amounts of cross contamination, Snyders pretzels have taken extensive measures to minimize any such risk and provide a truly gluten free product.
For those with celiac disease or who are extremely sensitive, it is still advisable to use caution and monitor how you feel when trying a new product. However Snyders gluten free pretzels are considered very safe based on their procedures for eliminating gluten.
Reviews of Snyders Gluten Free Pretzels
In addition to looking at the manufacturing process, it can also be helpful to see what consumer reviews have to say about a product’s gluten free claims.
Here are some reviews of Snyders gluten free pretzels from those eating gluten free diets:
Sarah K. – “I’ve been purchasing Snyders gluten free pretzels for over a year with no issues at all. No stomach pains or sickness like I’d get if I accidentally ate regular pretzels. I think they’re a tasty snack and safe treat.”
Michael C. – “I have celiac and am super sensitive to cross contamination. I’ve never had a problem after eating these pretzels. No gastro symptoms at all. I know some people react to oats despite them being gluten free but rice is a safer grain.”
Jessica R. – “My daughter has celiac disease and loves pretzels so I’m always on the hunt for gluten free ones she can enjoy. She’s snack on these pretzels daily with no complaints of tummy aches or anything. I trust the brand.”
Mark P. – “I tried these on the recommendation of a friend who eats strictly gluten free. Even I couldn’t tell these pretzels apart from regular wheat ones. They’re so tasty and crunchy with no weird aftertaste. I’d recommend them to anyone looking for a gluten free snack.”
Based on these reviews, many gluten free consumers find Snyders pretzels to be well tolerated with no unpleasant reactions. While individual experiences can vary, these provide some positive reports on their safety.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Snyders Gluten Free Pretzels?
While deemed safe for gluten free diets, Snyders pretzels do have a few drawbacks to consider:
– They’re on the pricey side – specialty gluten free products often cost more than conventional wheat-based versions, and these pretzels are no exception. The higher cost could be prohibitive for some.
– Limited flavors – Snyders only offers their gluten free pretzels in 4 flavor varieties, while they have over a dozen flavors among their regular pretzels. Those who like bold seasonings may find the gluten free options a little bland.
– Not whole grain – The main ingredients are refined rice flour and potato starch. They lack the fiber and nutrients provided by whole grains. This could be important for those aiming to eat nutrient-dense foods.
– Contains soy – The soy lecithin may need to be avoided by those with soy allergies.
While more flavor varieties would be nice, these downsides are fairly minor. The most significant issue is likely the cost factor for some consumers. But overall Snyders gluten free pretzels check the main boxes of being affordable, tasty convenience snacks.
Alternatives to Snyders Gluten Free Pretzels
If you don’t have access to Snyders brand pretzels or are looking for other options, here are some alternative gluten free pretzel brands to consider:
– Glutino – They offer gluten free pretzel sticks in flavors like original, salted, and cinnamon sugar. Glutino is one of the most widely available brands.
– Katz – This brand has gluten free pretzel sticks, mini pretzels, and even gluten free pretzel crisps. Great variety.
– BOCA Foods – In addition to entrees and veggie burgers, BOCA has a line of gluten free vegan pretzels in original and honey mustard flavors.
– Unique Pretzels – This brand makes crunchy gluten free pretzel sticks and bites in flavors like salted, buffalo, and jalapeno. Available online and in many health food stores.
– Aldi – The grocery store Aldi sells bags of gluten free pretzels under their LiveGfree brand for an affordable price point.
There are clearly plenty of options for finding gluten free pretzels from reputable brands widely available in stores and online. While specialty gluten free items tend to be more expensive, competition in this market means more reasonable prices.
Are All Pretzels Gluten Free?
While we have determined that reputable brands of gluten free labeled pretzels like Snyders avoid gluten in their ingredients and processing, it’s important to note that not all pretzels on the market are gluten free.
Here’s a quick guide to which types of pretzels likely contain gluten and which are gluten free:
Pretzels That Contain Gluten
– Regular pretzels made with wheat flour – The traditional soft pretzels and hard crunchy sticks are not gluten free because they are typically made from wheat flour.
– Pretzel buns and rolls – Burger buns in a pretzel shape contain regular wheat flour.
– Pretzel crisps – These crisp, wafer-like pretzel snacks often contain wheat flour. Always check labels.
– Pretzel bread, bagels, crackers – Other pretzel inspired baked goods likely contain gluten.
Gluten Free Pretzel Options
– Pretzels made with gluten free flours – Look for pretzels made from grains like rice, corn, and quinoa.
– Pretzels certified gluten free – Many brands clearly label their pretzels “gluten free” and state this certification on the packaging.
– Pretzels made in dedicated gluten free facility – Some brands manufacture gluten free pretzels on separate gluten free equipment.
The bottom line is to always check the label on pretzel products. Unless marked “gluten free”, pretzels made the traditional way likely contain wheat based ingredients. But there are now many gluten free varieties available to substitute your favorite snack.
Are Gluten Free Pretzels Healthy?
We’ve determined that pretzels labeled gluten free like Snyders avoid common allergens and are made safely for those requiring a gluten free diet. But are they actually healthy? Let’s look at some pros and cons:
– Usually made from whole grains like brown rice flour that provide more nutrients than refined flours
– Offer a crunchy, salty snack food option for those avoiding gluten who may feel deprived
– Rice flour has a low glycemic impact and is unlikely to spike blood sugar
– Free of common allergens like wheat, dairy, and nuts
– Provide variety in snacks and can be flavored with healthy seasonings like spices
– Still a refined carbohydrate treat that should be eaten in moderation
– Most lack significant protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals
– Often high in sodium, especially if adding your own salt or dipping sauces
– Some seasoned varieties contain MSG, artificial colors, etc
– Rice flours have lower protein than wheat, which can affect texture
Overall, gluten free pretzels are one of the healthier snack options within the pretzel category, containing no wheat and using gluten free whole grain flours. However, like most snacks, they should still be enjoyed in reasonable portions as part of an overall balanced diet, not as a dietary staple. Choosing options without excessive salt or other additives is best.
Homemade Gluten Free Pretzels
One way to control the ingredients and quality of your gluten free pretzels is to make them at home. This allows you to use wholesome ingredients and customize flavors. Here is a simple recipe to bake gluten free soft pretzels:
– 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
– 1/2 cup tapioca flour
– 1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1 package rapid rise yeast
– 1 cup warm water
– 1/4 cup brown sugar
– Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
– Baking soda bath: 10 cups water, 1/3 cup baking soda
1. In large bowl, whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, sugar, salt and yeast. Add the warm water and stir until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms. Let rest 10 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
3. Divide dough into 8 pieces. Roll each into a 24-inch rope. Shape into pretzel loops, pinching ends to seal.
4. In a wide pot, heat baking soda bath to simmer. Use a slotted spoon to carefully add each pretzel one at a time for 30 seconds, flipping once. Remove and transfer to prepared baking sheets.
5. Sprinkle pretzels with brown sugar and sea salt. Bake for 12-14 minutes until deep golden brown. Cool 5 minutes before serving.
Making your own gluten free soft pretzels allows you to control ingredients. You can swap different gluten free flours like sorghum or millet to change up the flavor and texture. Enjoy these homemade pretzels fresh anytime!
Are Gluten Free Pretzels Safe for Celiac Disease?
For those with celiac disease, avoiding even traces of gluten is critical to manage their condition and avoid illness and complications. This means it’s especially important for those with celiac to choose gluten free foods carefully.
So are gluten free pretzels like Snyders safe for people with celiac disease?
Here’s what to consider:
– Look for “certified gluten free” on the label – This indicates the food meets requirements for less than 20ppm gluten.
– Ensure the brand tests both ingredients and finished products – Testing only ingredients is not sufficient.
– Opt for brands manufactured in dedicated gluten free facilities. This avoids cross contamination.
– Check that reputable third party organizations have certified the products. Examples are the GIG and GFCO.
– Look up the brand’s testing standards and protocols. Do they test equipment for gluten and what are the thresholds?
– Read consumer feedback – Are people with celiac reporting positive experiences with the product over time?
Based on these criteria, a brand like Snyders, which adheres to high standards and carries third party certifications, would likely be considered safe for most with celiac. However, there is always some very small risk of trace contamination. Those with celiac should work closely with their doctor when deciding to add any new food to their diet.
Finding satisfying gluten free snacks can be one of the toughest parts of following a gluten free diet. But thankfully, there are now plenty of tasty gluten free pretzel options on the market, including Snyders gluten free line.
Based on an in depth look at their ingredients, manufacturing process, certifications, and consumer reviews, Snyders gluten free pretzels live up to their claims of being gluten free and safe for celiacs. While they cost a bit more than regular pretzels, they provide the irresistible crunch and salty flavor of this favorite snack food to the gluten free community. With proper precautions taken during processing, these pretzels make for a crunchy treat that those avoiding gluten can feel good about popping into their lunch boxes or munching by the handful. Just be mindful of portion sizes and accompanying dipping sauces.
Overall Snyders gluten free pretzels are proven to be a delicious option to satisfy pretzel cravings for those on special diets as well as anyone looking to avoid gluten. When a gluten free label reads more like a marketing ploy, it pays to dig deeper into the details, and this beloved brand’s gluten free offerings add up under close examination.