Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Kinnikinnick Gluten Free Panko Bread Crumbs & Graham Style Crumbs Ready to Ship

Our new packaging has arrived and it looks great! We'll be shipping our first order to ALL Canada Safeway stores on January 6th so you should start seeing these two new products in stores in the second or third week of January. Look for it in the Bakery Section alongside our four different cookies.

We expect most of our other distributors to be placing orders right away so look for these new products showing up in the next month or so at your local store. Let your store know they are available and that you'd like to see them.

Of course if you can't wait you can always order them from our website or by calling toll free 1-877-503-4466

Friday, December 4, 2009

Kinnikinnick Panko Style Bread Crumbs Now Available

Is it crazy to get excited about bread crumbs?

Obviously I'm biased but I have to say that these crumbs are the best bread crumbs I have ever used. Gluten free or not. They stick to what you put them on, they get amazingly crispy (I actually heard a crunch when biting into a piece of fish I made during testing), they don't seem to absorb much oil so they don't contribute to a greasy oily feel and they even retain a good deal of crispiness the day after they are used.

Currently you can get them from our website or by calling us directly 1-877-503-4466

Canada Safeway has already got an order in so they'll be the first to get them. All of our distributors are anxious to get them and most have indicated they'll take them immediately. They'll start flowing into stores in the new year.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pea Protein, Glutamic Acid & MSG in Kinnikinnick Products: Facts & Myths

Once again, I'm writing a response to an issue that is a result of misleading or incomplete information found on certain websites. The issue this time? The notion that companies are hiding MSG in their products by labeling it Pea Protein. If you'd like to see what I'm talking about just search for "pea protein, MSG". You finds dozens of sites making this claim and warning people to beware of companies using pea protein because they are lying to consumers. On there was even someone who has stopped using our products "after the horrible discovery I made about PEA PROTEIN being nothing more than MSG." This is from a message thread several years old and I would have responded if I'd seen it but I'll at least attempt to explain why this person is wrong. I'll also note that to my knowledge, we didn't receive any email inquiries about pea protein in the time around when this thread was active.

I will note before I continue that I can't speak for other manufacturers and what follows may or may not apply to them.

The basics. For those that don't want to read the wikipedia links for the following terms I'll summarize but I encourage you to read the whole thing as partial information is big part of the problem. If you don't read the whole thing, you won't know if -I'm- making things up or taking things out of context, right? I'm also not a chemist or biologist so I may even get some of this wrong. Feel free to correct me in the comments.

What is MSG. wikipedia

"Monosodium glutamate, also known as sodium glutamate and MSG, is a sodium salt of the naturally occurring non-essential amino acid glutamic acid. It is used as a food additive and is commonly marketed as a flavour enhancer. "

You'll note that wikipedia lets us know that MSG is gluten free. This is the stuff we're all familiar with. A white powder you can buy in the spice section of most grocery stores. The stuff that they put in Chinese food that seems to give some people headaches or possibly bring on an asthma attack. The stuff that has been vilified for years and maybe rightly so (although there doesn't seem to be any valid double blind studies showing extreme adverse sides effects). Personally, I try to avoid it. One thing that is completely clear. If it's added to a product it -must- be listed in the ingredients.

What is Glutamic Acid - wikipedia

Simply put, Glutamic acid is an amino acid which leads to the formation of glutamate. Glutamate is a key molecule in cellular metabolism. It helps remove nitrogen from the body. It is also "the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in the vertebrate nervous system." and "is involved in cognitive functions like learning and memory in the brain. " Short version? It is a key building block in virtually all living things. And not just blogging living things. It's in virtually all meat, dairy, eggs (and of course seaweed, the original source of MSG) and also in protein rich plants such as legumes (beans and peas). (see where this is going?)

What's the supposed Pea Protein/MSG connection.
Many of the websites making the claims that Pea Protein is a way to hide MSG in the products state that "Calling an ingredient pea protein indicates that the pea has been hydrolyzed, at least in part" [*]

Now it is correct to say that hydrolyzed protein of any kind can form free glutamates.

"Hydrolyzed proteins, used by the food industry to enhance flavor, are simply proteins that have been chemically broken apart into amino acids. The chemical breakdown of proteins may result in the formation of free glutamate that joins with free sodium to form MSG." [*]

What is incorrect to say is that all pea proteins are hydrolyzed. Here is a direct quote from our manufacturer of pea protein.

"Our pea protein is definitely not hydrolyzed. Most of the MSG concerns do come from proteins being hydrolyzed. Whatever glutamic acid is present in peas naturally is what ends up in our product. Our process in fact does not encourage the protein breaking down into smaller units
(favoring the formation of MSG - which is a smaller subunit) but it does the opposite."

Granted, not every manufacturer will use our supplier of pea protein and I can't speak to other protein manufacturer's processes, but it seems a basic assumption of the pea protein/MSG conspiracy theory has a bit of a hole. Pea proteins do -not- have to hydrolyzed. And there's one other little problem. Both CFIA & FDA labeling regulations require that any hydrolyzed proteins are indicated as such on the ingredient panel. You can't legally hide hydrolization by mislabeling a product. I don't know of any company that would risk censure, recall or possibly fines and even jail for fraud for intentionally mislabeling a product.

The other issue when it comes to our products specifically is the question of why people think we'd add MSG to bakery products in the first place. MSG is known as a "flavour enhancer" but it's a mistake to think it enhances all flavours. It actually contributes a "savouriness" which some are now classifying as "umami"[*] or the 5th basic flavour (along with sweet, salty, bitter and sour) Umami is great for things like meat and soups but a savoury, meaty cookie? Not something I'd want. (not accounting for Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies). I also must let you know that the pea protein itself has quite a strong flavour of peas and we have to be pretty careful about how much we use so it doesn't become overpowering. Again another strike against the flavour enhancement theory.

OK. So now you know that our pea protein has about as much glutamic acid as the peas themselves and that we don't add pea protein to enhance the flavour. Why -do- we use it?

Let's go back to 1998. I had a customer call me and she told me that she was trying out the GFCF (gluten free casein free) diet and she wanted to know if we could make some special order products for her. At that time, while we were entirely gluten free, most of our products contained dairy. Fortunately, back then we were small enough that we could do special orders, but only if we had a sufficient demand to justify an entire day's production. We began to have Dairy Free Mondays a couple of days a months where all we'd produce was dairy free products.

This worked well for a while, but soon it worked too well. We realized the demand for GF and dairy free products was very large and we decided to go as dairy free as possible. Now one thing to keep in mind is that baked goods in the non-GF world rely on just a few things. At it's most basic it's wheat flour, water and yeast. Importantly, that wheat flour consists of starch and protein (that being gluten of course) In the GF world we rely extensively on starches and rice flour. Starches basically have no protein and rice flour doesn't have a protein structure that is very good for baking. So we add gums and other proteins to mimic the gluten. When we removed dairy, we needed a substitute protein so we turned to soy. This worked well, but it was not long before we started to see a lot of people with soy allergies and intolerances. Soy is, after all, one of the top 8 most common allergens.

So, about 5-6 years ago, we made the decision to start removing soy from as many products as we could. Again, we were faced with finding an alternative to dairy and soy proteins. Our answer. You guessed it. Pea protein. It gives us the required functionality and is far less allergenic than soy. Certainly some people have issues but we hear from far fewer than we did with soy.

We use pea protein purely for its functionality. It works for us and is not very allergenic. We also use it in small quantities so the amounts of glutamic acid from peas in our products is far less than the glutamic acid you'd get from the eggs in our products (again naturally occurring) . So there you have it. I hope I've cleared some things up for some people.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Some new looks for Kinnikinnick logos and packaging

Many of our long time customers may remember the days of ALTA Mondays. Those were the days when many of our products contained dairy and we would do special production days once or twice a month for all our dairy free customers. Our ALTA GFCF logo was the identifier we used to let everyone know that the product was GFCF. (gluten & casein free)

Demand became such that we eventually modified most of our formulas to be dairy free. With the change, the ALTA logo became less important. For those that were specifically looking for GFCF products it was useful but we found it was less useful for those who were looking for "dairy" free. We've heard from many people that they were unaware that our products were mostly dairy free.

With this in mind we've retired the dated ALTA GFCF logo and are introducing a new Dairy Free logo
We've also added an new logo to remind everyone that as of June 15, 2009, Kinnikinnick is a nut free company.These are already appearing on our website and will start showing up on our literature and packaging.

We're also in the final approval process of new packaging design for many of our products. The designs will harmonize the look of our line and make Gluten Free more prominent to help people locate them in stores. These changes will also update our allergen statement by removing the nut warning. We'll also be showing common allergen in bold in the ingredient list.

The new packaging should start showeing up in stores in the new year.

Oh... four of the packages we are completing are brand new for the products we recently announced; the Fudge KinniTOOS, the Chocolate and Graham Kritters and the Panko Style Bread Crumbs.

This means these should be showing up in stores at the same time as all the rest of the new packaging. Watch for them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kinnikinnick.TV Is On The Air

It's been a bit quiet on the blog and twitter front for the last month or so. The reason? Our secret project.

For the last couple of weeks we have been putting the finishing touches on our new gluten free cooking show "Great Food, Gluten Free".

We're very pleased to announce that our first episode is now available for viewing.

Each week, Hosts Chef Lori Grein and Kim Reiniger will cover some of the issues that often come up in Gluten Free baking and cooking but most importantly, they'll show you just how easy it is to make "Great Food, Gluten Free"

While we do want to showcase our products, the show will cover the entire range of gluten free cooking, from the basics, to holiday meals, to appetizers and even beverages.

The show will be released about once a week, with episodes running from 15-25 minutes. They'll be posted to our YouTube channel but to get the best experience, you should visit our new website The site will let you watch the videos, view the recipes for each video and any links mentioned in the show.

To get everyone ready for the upcoming holiday season, our first 4 episodes will feature everything you need to make a complete holiday dinner. In the first episode Lori and Kim will tackle the main course:
  • Lemon Herb Turkey
  • Sausage Stuffing
  • Gravy
The remaining episodes will feature:
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Caramel Apple Pie Martini
  • Turnips n' Apples Casserole
  • KinniKwik Dinner Rolls
  • Autumn Harvest Apple Cake
  • Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte

Be sure to watch this blog, twitter, our Facebook page or our YouTube Channel for updates on when we release each episode or just visit

The first episode is now online and available from viewing.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Kinnikinnick Expands Cookie BioDiversity

As we announced on Twitter last week, we're pleased to present the two newest additions to our product line.

Chocolate KinniKritter Animal Cookies

Graham Style KinniKritter Animal Cookies

These cookies are now available from our website or by calling us toll free 1-877-503-4466. We are in the process or finalizing packaging and we've begun the process of listing the products with our distributors. You should see these new cookies showing up in stores near you late this year or early next.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kinnikinnick Waffle Madness!

We like our Waffles & we want you to try them. For every order shipping in October we are going to include a free sampler pack of each of our Waffle varieties. Each sampler of Original and Cinnamon & Brown Sugar has 3 waffles. That's basically a whole package of waffles ... on us. Our waffles are gluten, wheat, dairy, nut, yeast, soy & potato free.

The Fine Print.

What do I have to do to get this.

Just place an order for shipping in October. The samples will automatically accompany your order. Standard shipping charge of $10 applies to your order (just as always). While supplies last (but don't worry we have lots)

Cost to me for the samples.



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Canada Safeway Expands Selection Of Kinnikinnick Products

Canada Safeway has been a Gluten Free leader in the mainstream grocery market in Canada. They have sold Kinnikinnick products for years (almost 10 years if memory serves).

Hmmm, I bet some of you are saying, "What? I shop at Safeway all the time and I've never seen Kinnikinnick!" It isn't the easiest to find, but if you know where to look, it's -always- available in all 200+ Safeway stores in western Canada. Our products have been sold out of the small freezer in the Bakery section (where the ice cream cakes are sold).

If you check out that freezer today you'll find:
  • English Muffins
  • Blueberry Muffins
  • Cheese Tap Rice Bread
  • Tapioca Rice Bread
  • Sunflower Flax Bread
  • Robins Honey Brown Bread
  • Raisin Tapioca rice bread
  • Cinnamon Buns

Even though our products have been a bit hard to find for some people, Safeway has been pleased enough with sales to decide to do a major line expansion.

Starting as soon as next week (Sept 21) they'll be adding the following to the freezer section:
  • White Sandwich Bread
  • Italian White Tapioca Rice Bread
  • NY Style Plain Bagels
  • Cinnamon Sugar Donuts
  • Chocolate Dipped Donuts
  • Personal Pizza Crusts
And maybe even more exciting, they'll be adding 4 new cookies:
  • KinniTOOS Chocolate Vanilla Sandwich Cremes
  • KinniTOOS Vanilla Sandwich Cremes
  • S'moreables Graham Style Crackers
  • KinniKritters Animal Cookies
These cookies will be available on the "Sweets" table in the bakery or immediately adjacent to the bakery. If you can't find them, just ask. Note that it may take a bit of time for the products to make their way into the stores so you might not see them for a couple a weeks in some locations.

Some people may be disappointed to learn that Safeway will be dropping the Raisin Tapioca Rice bread and Cinnamon Buns to make room in the freezer but overall this is a win for everyone.

Be sure to check back frequently as I've got a couple of exciting new product announcements to make over the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Inside Scoop On Kinnikinnick Direct Shipping

Someone "tweeted" today "wondering why Kinnikinnick doesn't have any price breaks on bulk orders- prices are as expensive as shopping in health food store!"

The explanation will take more than 140 characters so I thought I'd post the reply here.

First some background. When our family got involved in Kinnikinnick in 1997, availability of gluten free products was extremely poor throughout North America. The number one request we got at that time wasn't "can you make x product", it was "how can I get -any- GF products in my area". If you didn't have a local health food store way ahead of the curve, the answer was pretty much "you can't." Our first order of business was to figure out how to solve the availability issue.

When we started shipping our products directly to customers back in 1998, we spent months developing a system that would provide the best possible products at the least cost to our customers. Longtime customers may remember the modified atmosphere packed shipments through Canada Post and the US Postal Service. We charged $15 for these shipments which took up to 2 weeks (after they left our building!) to arrive via post. The shipping and packaging costs to us were high, the service was slow but most of all, product quality suffered greatly when we used modified atmosphere packaging (packages were flushed with nitrogen & C02 and sealed with a moisture scavenger packet) . We knew we had to find a different way to do things. For optimum product quality, we had to get the products to customers much quicker. We partnered with UPS to develop a system which is unique
to this day. We are able to offer overnight shipping (2 days max) for a flat rate fee of only $10. Why not $15 like our initial fee? The number one complaint we heard in the first 2 years of shipping was that the $15 flat rate was "too expensive". Our research showed us that for most people, $10 was perceived as fair and $10 is what our shipping charge has been for almost 10 years, even though UPS rates have substantially risen in that time.

You might be thinking, "Why can other companies such as Amazon sell with bulk discounts?" The simple reason is that most companies are shipping shelf stable products. These are either cookies and mixes, or modified atmosphere packaging, and all can spend a couple of weeks on a truck without a problem. Ground transportation = cheap. That's not an option for us. The majority of our products sold directly to customers are baked and shipped fresh. Oh and by the way, we don't use any preservatives. So for us, it's all about speed and quality. We have to get the products in your hands as fast as we can, so Air express is our only option. For you, it's about convenience. You can order this week and know exactly when you'll receive it next week. You can plan around your shipment. You can even have a shipment arrive at a hotel while you're on vacation.

So why are "prices are as expensive as shopping in health food store?" There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly we'll go back to our $10 flat rate fee. If any of you have shipped a package overnight via an express courier, you may understand how expensive it can be but for for those who haven't here's an example.

Our average direct shipment package weight is 17 lbs. The cheapest cost to send a 17 lb package via UPS overnight from Florida to California is $112.36 using the Calculate Time & Cost tool on the UPS website. For second day service the prices drops to $82.24 (what a bargain!) So how do we ship that same 17 lb order for 10 bucks? Those prices listed on the UPS site are "retail", the most expensive. Because of the large volume of shipments we make (we're in the top 5% of all UPS shippers in Canada) , we get special rates that are substantially cheaper. But they are still quite a bit more than $10 a shipment. How do we make up the difference? Basically, we are subsidizing shipping costs so you don't have to pay more.

Unlike truck shipments, Air cargo pricing is based on a per pound basis so there is little or no price break on shipping costs as order size goes up.The more we ship, the more expensive it is. However do remember the following. Because cost of shipping ($10) we charge to you does not increase as order size grows (up to $200 in the US) you actually do get an "unofficial" discount if you look at the numbers.

Example 1
2 loaves bread @ ~$5 = $10
2 pkgs donuts @ ~$7 = $14
Shipping @ $10 = $10
Total = $34
Avg = $8.50 per item shipping included
Shipping = $2.50 per item
Example 2
6 loaves bread @ ~$5 = $30
6 pkgs donuts @ ~$7 = $42
Shipping @ $10 = $10
Total = $82
Avg = $6.83 per item shipping included
Shipping = $0.83 per item
Example 3
12 loaves bread @ ~$5 = $60
12 pkgs donuts @ ~$7 = $84
Shipping @ $10 = $10
Total = $154
Avg = $6.41 per item shipping included
Shipping = $0.41 per item

By ordering either 12 or 24 items you can get a "discount" of between 24% & 32% based on your average item cost. And this "discount" applies every day, year round.

That being said, the biggest reason for us charging what a health food store would charge is this. We don't want to undercut our retail partners. Local availability has always been the best option for our customers. The ability to run out and buy a loaf of bread on a Saturday morning is something that most people take for granted. Until the last 5 years or so, in most places, people on a GF diet have not had that option. It was: place an order online, wait a week..or two ... or three and get your loaf of bread. We developed our pricing structure so that your local store can sell products and compete with us to get your business.

It's important to remember that we are the manufacturer of these products. We're not an online "mall" or service, even though we do offer a direct to home service. For us, this is filling the gaps, where local stores do not carry any GF products. We sell the vast majority of our products to distributors, they mark it up and sell to these stores. The stores mark it up again and sell to you. Granted, some stores mark GF products up far more than is reasonable, but this is rare. The majority understand that if they offer you a fair price and a good selection, you will come back time and time again. It would be unfair to undercut these stores. Many have been our customers for over a decade. Because they buy from distributors, they need to include the distributor markup as well as their own. If we were to charge less than what the local store can reasonably charge, you might not buy from them and it might result in 1) no locally available GF products & 2) an out of business sign hanging on the door. There are thousands of small retailers and health food stores who have built businesses in your neighborhoods who rely on your patronage and we do whatever we can to support them.

If you have any other questions regarding shipping of our products, like why is there a $200 limit for US shipments or our short ship policy, etc I'd encourage you to use our Help Center Console from any page on our website. Just select Shipping from the Drop down and then the topic and click Show Answer.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Announcing New KinniToos Fudge Cookies

We weren't kidding when we said we've been busy this summer. This is the first of several new product announcements we are going to be making over the next couple of weeks.

We're pleased to announce the newest addition to our very popular KinniTOOS line of cookies; the KinniTOOS Fudge Sandwich Creme Cookie.

These cookies are sure to please the most discriminating chocolate lover. Rich Dutch Chocolate in both the wafers and creme filling make this a smooth and creamy super chocolatey snack.

As much as I love the original "oreo-style" KinniTOOS Chocolate Vanilla cookie, I think this one may be my new favourite. In fact these are so good we wanted to get them out in the market even before the printed film for the packaging is complete. Since they don't have the final packaging, these are only available for direct home delivery, either by ordering from our website or by calling us toll free @ 1-877-503-4466.

We hope to have them available to our distributors and stores by November.

Keep watching this blog, become a Facebook fan, follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter from our website homepage to follow all the upcoming product announcements.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Kinnikinnick Cookies Go National in Whole Foods Markets

We're thrilled to announced that in September, Whole Foods Markets (WFM) will start carrying three of our cookie varieties throughout the entire chain in the U.S. This national launch is a result of "customer satisfaction" and sales "significantly above the category average". For Whole Foods this means that these cookies sell very well. (In fact, as of March 2009, Kinnikinnick Chocolate KinniTOOS® are the best selling GF sandwich creme cookie in North America based on national mainline & natural store sales data.) For the consumer, it means that they will be widely and consistently available to anyone near a Whole Foods.

The three cookies that will be available are:

Montanas Chocolate Chip

KinniTOOS® Chocolate
Vanilla Sandwich Creme

KinniTOOS® Vanilla Sandwich Creme

Many WFM's already carry these cookies, but a national listing means that every store is "required" to carry the products. It will probably take a month or so for the stores that don't currently have these cookies but look for them soon. If you don't see them ask. We'll update our store finder on the website shortly to list all WFM's.

Don't forget, we have dozens of your favourite Kinnikinnick products like S'moreables®, Donuts and Waffles approved for sale in Whole Foods. You can get them brought in by talking to the store manager and requesting the products. Customer demand really does work.

Canadian Customers stay tuned for a couple of important store announcements as early as next week.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Introducing New Jumbo Muffins

We're very pleased to introduce our new Jumbo Muffins. These moist, soft muffins are so good, you'll probably have to ask twice to believe they are really gluten free. Visitors to our Edmonton Retail Store have known about these gems for a couple of years now. We've finally got the equipment in place to make them available. Initially they'll only be available to our direct customers by ordering online or calling us toll free @ 1-877-503-4466

We're introducing 3 varieties to start

Lemon Poppy Seed

Chocolate Lovers (chocolate chocolate chip)

and Harvest Crunch

Get some today and never miss out on that office meeting snack again.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pancake Mix A Huge Hit and More - From the Mailbag

I thought I'd post a bit of the positive feedback we've been getting recently.

We supplied our Pancake and Waffle Mix to Community Natural Foods in Calgary for there annual Calgary Stampede Pancake Breakfast. It's always well attended but this year the numbers were -huge-.
I just wanted to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for all of your support for our Stampede breakfast. The Kinnikinnick pancakes were a huge hit with not only the G.F. customers but as well others that just wanted to try it.

We went through it all except and had just enough for the last pancake stragglers at the end. All in all it was a huge hit. I heard comments from many in line that they never have tasted it before.....boy were they good......

We estimated 2100 people at the breakfast and we still had to turn away another hundred or so at the end.
And speaking of our Pancake Mix, I received this via Twitter from GFinSC
best pancake mix by far! Been doing this for 8 years and haven't found other brand that comes close!! Thank you!
Our new Personal Pizza Crusts have been out for about 6 months now and we've been getting great feedback, even from non-GF people like Margaret & Steve from Texas
My fiance and I made ... pizza using your 7" pizza crusts and fell in love. We're originally from New York and understand what a great pizza and pizza crust taste like. Steve and I were never able to find a healthy pizza crust product that we liked. Today we visited Kroger's grocery store and browsed through the healthy aisle to find a healthy pizza crust. We found your product and it was the only package left.

Your 7" pizza crust was chewy in the middle and crispy on the outside. These were the most delicious pizzas we have ever tasted in our life.....thanks to your product. And thanks to your product I have convinced my fiance to make healthy pizza, at home, using your product when he has a pizza craving. Your product will definitely help us live a better and healthier lifestyle. I can't wait to try some of your other products.
They're also helping Diane stick to her GF Diet (that's -really- important):
I have just tried you 7 inch pizza crusts. They are absolutely delicious! Usually when my husband has pizza I cheat on my gluten free diet and have a piece of "real pizza" and then pay the price. Last night I made my own pizza with your pizza crust and I can honestly say I will no longer cheat. Your crusts are fantastic. THANK YOU!
Our KinniTOOS are the #1 selling GF cream cookie in North America and it's because of people like Erin.
I felt compelled to write to tell you how amazing your KinniToos chocolate creme sandwiches cookies are! So outstanding I had to blog about them
BlogLink And have been sharing them with everyone.

Bravo to your company for making such a wonderful Gluten-Free cookie - and for giving me back a taste of my childhood.
(the blog post is a nice read... "The first bite brought tears to my eyes." makes us remember why we do this.)

This is a 2 product comment from Sara via our website
I just wanted to thank you for making the BEST gluten free products anywhere... I don't know how you do it, but the quality and taste of every Kinnikinnick product I've ever had far surpasses any other gluten free brand out there. I just had your [S'moreables ]graham crackers for the first time since going gluten free three years ago, and I swear they are even better than I remember real graham crackers tasting! And your K-TOO cookies -- I never thought I'd be able to have anything remotely resembling an Oreo again in my life, but your cookies are pretty close! So I'd just like to say a big THANK YOU, and keep up the good work.
Our donuts have always been popular, but since we reformulated them last year, we've seen a big increase in comments like this short but sweet comment from Karen via our webpage
The donuts are AWESOME!!!!!!!!
and from imightbeodd via Twitter
Kinnikinnick hit it out of the ballpark with their gluten-free donuts!! MmmMm
From GF_Steph on Twitter
Review of Kinnikinnick's Gluten Free Chocolate Dipped Donuts: BlogLink Slowly finding acceptable subs for EVERYTHING! :)
and from GF_Steph a day later
Trying to talk myself out of eating a 2nd Kinnikinnick GF Chocolate Dipped donut...It's not working.
(sorry Steph ;)

Feedback from our latest change, the new Hot Dog & Hamburger buns is also starting to show up like this one from Alan in CT.
Just wanted to say that your new and improved hot dog rolls are awesome! Not too bulky, great consistency and fantastic taste! I can finally enjoy hot dogs again. I'm heading back to the store to stock up on them.
Kelly L posted this comment on our blog article Major Store Announcement & Store Finder Upgrade

Twice Kinnikinnick suprised me this week! First found the new hot dog buns at our not so local health food store - and kids loved them...just days before Independance Day BBQ! Then I find our local (less than 1 mile!) TARGET is one of 2 "test-market" stores stocking Kinnikinnick as well as toehr GF products. Banner week!
We even found a review on Flickr from thePlaidMushroom
First time eating a gluten free basic bread that I really enjoyed. see all the air-pockets? it's like real bread!

I am Kinnikinnick's biggest fan. in the world. I LOVE KINNIKINNICK's PRODUCTS!!! ALL OF THEM!!!
with some pictures FlickrLink

It's great when we get a letter from a newly diagnosed celiac like Seaneen
I was diagnosed with "silent" Celiac Disease less than 2 weeks ago and to say that the diagnosis came out of left field would be a big understatement.

I have been incredibly lucky, however, to have discovered your products almost immediately (the Sunflower Flax Seed bread was the second one I tried, after a horrible first experience with another company's product) and I have been on the hunt for more ever since. I have been fighting frustration and disappointment as I move through life and realize many of my favorite foods are now off limits.

Thank you for your amazing products. I have only just started to explore your website and just finished reading your story and the Kinniki-What?? portion. The analogy of your company being like the bearberry plant really touched me, and just makes me love your company more.

Thank you!!!
Our waffles get great reviews too like this one from Asia (a person not the place):
About a year and a half ago I discovered your Original Homestyle Waffles and fell in love with them. They were the first gluten free waffle I actually enjoyed and I found them to be just as tasty as a certain name brand wheat waffle.
From Sherry via our website
Me and my kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your homestyle frozen waffles, muffins, donuts, chocolate cake mix and pancake and waffle mix. Please don't ever discontinue these items. I would also love to see your frozen homestyle waffles in the regular grocery stores.
We'd love to see them in more stores to and we'll be doing a big promotion on our waffles in October so look for more info on Twitter or here on the blog in coming months.

I also got some great replies to my post on The Importance Of A Dedicated Gluten Free Facility

You can see the comments BlogLink

That's just a quick selection of what we've been seeing from email, our website feedback, twitter and from the blog. We actually still get hand written notes too. We read all these to our staff at our monthly staff birthday parties and it really helps keep them motivated to bring you the best products possible.

Couple of additional things to round out the post today.

I've just added a Filter By Allergen feature to our website. Look for the "Free Of Search" button on our Browse/Buy Product pages. Click what ingredients you want to avoid and the category will show you what's available.

If you're in the Edmonton area this weekend, come an join us for a Fund Raiser for Edmonton Celiac Association & CyclingForCeliacs. It's a Pancake Breakfast tomorrow (Sat.July 18) between 9-11am at Kinnikinnick Foods

More Info Here

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Importance of a Dedicated Gluten Free Facility

As many of you know, Kinnikinnick Foods is a dedicated gluten free manufacturer. Since 1991, we've been Gluten Free and we always will be. Not only that, we do not out source the production of our products to anyone. We have complete control over the production of our products. I know how important this is to us, but I'm quite interested to know how important it is to you.

Why am I asking this? There's a couple of reasons actually. With all the publicity around gluten free recently, we are starting to see a lot more companies, both big and small, jump on the GF bandwagon. Some will have dedicated facilities, some will not and some will outsource production of their products to others. Some will get it right but some won't and that's a concern.

Mostly it's due to several experiences I've had over the last couple of years that really bring the issue into focus for me.

A Fog of Gluten
We are doing some testing of new equipment at a non-GF facility to see if that type of equipment can be used for our products. Our first day of trials was quite a reminder of why we are a dedicated facility. Flour dust hung like a fog in the air; it clung to our clothes and skin like glue (gluten!) , and I actually had a reaction later that day as I wasn't wearing a mask. Of course, the trial products went into the trash at the end of the day and we actually had to change clothes and wash our shoes before returning to Kinnikinnick as we were a contamination risk. I just don't know how anyone could make GF & non-GF products in the same building. Flour dust is -everywhere-

Think It's Clean Do You?
This also brought back memories of when we opened our K2 facility. We bought this Yes, it really is that big120,000 sq ft building and it's equipment when the largest producer of private label (wheat based) cookies in western Canada went out of business in 2005. When it was producing wheat based products, this facility was AIB (American Institute of Baking) certified with a consistently high score on it's regular audits. In other words, it was a very "clean" facility. However, before we made a single product in this new facility of ours, we spent over 6 months decontaminating the building and equipment. Every nook and cranny of the building was pressure washed, twice. Ceiling, girders, ducting, walls; all were washed. One week, the entire building had the electricity shut down so we could wash the lights, electrical conduit and instrument panels. Each piece of equipment was broken down to it's constituent parts and every nut, bolt and gear washed clean.

We were fortunate enough to be able to hire some of the employees of the previous company who knew the equipment. Being new to the gluten free world, it was very instructive for them to take apart the AIB certified, "clean" equipment and find wheat flour caked in places that were impossible to see and even harder to clean. Many of these places inside equipment would be in contact with anything produced in that equipment. Yikes. They quickly became gluten detectives, probing every bit of our equipment to ensure we could be certain this equipment was as clean as new.

We had the same experience in 2007 when we bought a used waffle production line. There were places in that machine that could only be cleaned of contamination by a complete tear down of the parts of the machine. I have some video which I'll dig up and post shortly of just how bad it really was.

UPDATE: Here's The Video

Personally, as a result of these experiences and because I am a celiac who actually eats some products from companies other than Kinnikinnick(!), I have a much greater sense of wariness when I see "manufactured in a facility that contains wheat." From a company perspective, I'd like every manufacturer of GF products to go to the lengths and expense we do. I know that some do already but some don't. As a consumer, it's tough to know just what you can expect. Hopefully, the new FDA regulations (if/when they are implemented) will bring some clarity to the issue. The issue in Canada is a bit clearer due to our regulations, but it can still be hard to know what to think.

We're not going to change the way we do things here at Kinnikinnick, because we believe it's the right thing to do and we think it's important to you. Let us know.

FYI... You can read more about our ongoing, daily procedures and testing for gluten on a previous post here

Friday, June 19, 2009

Major Store Announcement & Store Finder Upgrade

In what is one of the biggest gluten free product placements ever in a major main line grocery chain, we are pleased to announce that 14 Kinnikinnick frozen products are now or will shortly be available in 375 Stop & Shop & 180 Giant Food stores. These stores are located throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, DC, Virginia, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The products available will include:
  • White Sandwich Bread
  • Brown Sandwich Bread
  • Italian White Tapioca Rice Bread
  • Pizza crusts
  • English Muffins
  • Cinnamon Sugar Donuts
  • Chocolate Dip Donuts
  • Vanilla Glazed Donuts
  • New York Style Bagels
  • Cinnamon Raisin Bagels
  • Chocolate Chip Muffins
  • Blueberry Muffins
  • Hamburger Buns
  • Hot Dog Buns
The number of products carried by each store will vary depending on store size. All of these 14 products will be available to all stores so if the store is not carrying an item you want, you may be able to get the store to bring it in for you. Talk to the store manager.

If you're not near one of these stores don't forget to check out our Store Finder. We now have almost 3500 stores listed carrying our products (and these are only the ones we know about). If you know of a store that is carrying our products that isn't listed, let us know by dropping us an email to

Google Maps Integration

We've also just incorporated Google Maps into our Store Finder . Once you've selected the store you're interested, just click the Show Map button and you will see the store's location. We plan on adding driving directions in the near future.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

We've Finally Gotten Rid Of All The Nuts!

For a while our staff was quite worried when we said all the nuts would have to go...

We are pleased to announce that as of June 15, 2009, we are going entirely nut free in both of our facilities. This is one of the biggest product policy changes since we made most of our products dairy free. We've been peanut free for several years now but this move will eliminate all tree nuts from our product line as well. On the down side, this will force the discontinuation of our lemon cranberry almond and double chocolate almond cookies but will open up our complete product line to thousands (millions?) of people with nut allergies. We will also be announcing a couple of new cookie varieties to replace the 2 we are discontinuing. More on that in a future post.

For those of you with severe nut allergies please keep in mind that there will still be products in the market that were produced prior to us going nut free. Look for products with the following Best Before dates or later:

* Soft Baked Goods (breads, buns, bagels, donuts, etc) - 12/15/2009
* Cookies, Mixes and Ingredients - 06/15/2010

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fire Up The Barbeque

We are very pleased to announce today that our new Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns are now available.

If you've been reading this blog for any period of time, you'll know that we are always looking to create better products which are more widely available.

We've known for a long time that our Hot Dog and Hamburger Buns were less than ideal; they were too big, the tops flaked off, they tended to be quite crumbly and just kind of hard to use. Well no longer. We've done a reformulation and reformat.

Both the Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns are now virtually flake and crumble free, they are thinner, easier to eat and toast great. You may not believe this but these buns are "one-handers". That is to say you can eat your hot dog or hamburger start to finish with one hand. No mess, no fuss, just great taste.

While we reduced the height of our Hamburger Buns, we wanted to keep the package weight the same, so you now get 5 buns instead of 4 for the same price. Yes you read that correctly, an extra bun, no extra charge.

Many of you who don't buy directly from us may not have even realized that we sold Hot Dog Buns. That's because we couldn't make enough to meet the demand from stores. Now we can and stores have been anxiously awaiting this launch. Look for stores carrying both varieties of the new and improved buns within the next couple of weeks.

For those who can't wait, you can order directly from us to make sure you've got what you need for the May long weekend (May 18 in Canada, May 25 in the U.S.)

Grab the charcoal, the fixin's (and the GF beer for those so inclined) and have a great summer.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's Hip To Be Square

Many of you may have noticed the It's Hip To Be Square image on the main page of our website and have wondered what it's all about.

We've just completed almost a year of product development and equipment design to allow us to introduce our new Square Pizza Crust. These crusts are not only square but we've made some formulation changes to improve the taste and texture as well. In anticipation of the question "Why change them? I love them the way they are." I'll try to explain why we've made the change.

Why Square?

Over the last year I have received dozens (hundreds?) of emails similar the the one that arrived this morning:

"My local health food store keeps telling me that they can't get your pizza crust [...] What is the problem?"

Many of you are probably aware of the Donut Saga, which was our struggle to keep up with demand for donuts, our search for equipment and a formulation that would work with the equipment and the response we received to the new donut. Essentially, Kinnikinnick Pizza Crust has suffered from the same supply/demand problem. We simply couldn't make them fast enough. Each crust was formed by hand and baked in small batches. We've known this was an issue for about 18 months and began the process of looking for new equipment which could produce our crusts in a more automated fashion. However, like the donuts, there simply isn't any pizza crust equipment available that would work with our gluten free pizza dough. About 12 months ago, our product development team sat down with our facilities staff and I said,

"OK, let's build our own pizza line...

"From scratch."

All things considered, they took it pretty well.

One of the things that quickly became apparent was that it would be virtually impossible to automate a round pizza crust with our dough. Most traditional wheat based equipment uses a system which picks up the excess dough created when cutting a round shape. Our doughs are simply too soft for us to automate this. We knew our only option was to get "square". We had some concerns about consumer acceptance but we found that a web search for "square pizza" returned almost 60,000 matches. Square pizza is quite common.

Why Reformulate?

We always get nervous when we reformulate a product. We know that some people will be upset with the changes we make but we always make changes for solid reasons.

As with the donuts, some changes were necessary simply to make the dough work with the equipment we were using (building). These kinds of changes often have most impact on texture. We make changes to get the required physical properties in the raw dough. It turns out that the changes needed with the pizza crust have improved the texture substantially. The new crusts are crispy yet have a nice chewiness which is very similar to a wheat flour crust.

When we look at make major changes to a product we take look at our product comment files and see if there are additional issues we could address to make the product even better. The biggest complaint with the old crusts was that they were "too sweet". I must admit that I was not a huge fan of the old crusts for this very reason. The second issue was that they were "too thick" although thickness was quite variable due to the fact that they were hand formed. On average, we agreed that they were thicker than we'd like.

We've addressed both these issues with the new formulation. The crusts are substantially less sweet and thinner. And since we are always looking to improve the nutritional value of our products we've made them better for you.

The nutritional highlights for a single serving (1 crust):

  • 10 Grams of Fiber
  • 7 Grams of Protein
  • Only 75 Grams of Carbs
  • Vitamin Enriched
One thing I'd like to note for those few people with pea allergies is that the new formulation does contain pea protein.

Drum Roll Please

As of yesterday, we started full production of the new square pizza crusts. You'll be seeing them arrive shortly in your orders directly from us. Shipments to distributors will start this week so they will be showing up in stores in 2-3 weeks. The automation of the line should very quickly eliminate the shortages that stores are seeing and make the new Square Pizza Crust available to even more people.

The Future

We will continue hand forming 10 inch crusts as we only offer this size in the direct to home market. The other thing this new equipment allows us to do is to look at producing a larger, family size crust that can be produced in large quantities for mass distribution. We think 10 inch is a little small for a true family sized pizza so we'd be interested in what size you'd like to see. Just post a comment below and let us know what you think.

You can also look for new packaging which will begin appearing in late April. The 4 crusts will be wrapped in packages of 2 to help preverse freshness and will be available in a recyclable cardboard box.

In Closing

I really like these new crusts. Last night, I made pizza from the first production run of the new formulation for a non-celiac friend of mine. His comment was "This is awesome."

We think so. We hope you do to.

Remember, as Huey Lewis says It's Hip To Be Square

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Kinnikinnick Donuts Now Free of Artificial Flavours and Colours

Happy New Year to all.

We are pleased to announce that as of last December, we began producing our own donut icing. This has allowed us to completely remove the artificial colours and flavours from our donut line. We are now using pure cocoa and natural maple flavours in their place.

We did not want to be in the icing business but our supplier was not willing to make the change so we felt we had to do it ourselves. While many of our customers aren't concerned about artificial ingredients, we know that there are lots who are. Additionally, one of our major distributors discontinued the two varieties with the artificial ingredients, making them unavailable in many stores.

With this change, we expect that the distributor will reintroduce the two varieties and we would hope to see them become much more widely available in the coming months.

Please note that there may still be some boxes out in stores which contain the old ingredients. All boxes with the new formulation will be labeled with a new ingredient panel. Once we have used our existing box inventory, new boxes will be printed with the new ingredient list.