R.I.P., Gluten Free Rice Krispies Squares

gluten free Rice Krispies squares
Photo: Angela Mombourquette

About a month ago, Kellogg’s quietly discontinued its gluten free line of Rice Krispies cereal. From a cereal perspective, that might not be a huge deal, but from a “gluten free treats” perspective, it’s nothing short of tragic for many people.

The Kellogg’s website features a number of posts from frustrated consumers. Reactions range from anger to disappointment to outright pleading for the product to be re-introduced. One commenter says, “It’s very frustrating to lose a healthy option for the celiac and gluten-sensitive community.”

Here are a few of the other comments posted to Kellogg’s customer service representatives:

  • “Is it true you are no longer making gluten free Rice Krispies? I really hope not. …it’s hard to find similar substitutes to “real food” and it’s so nice to have Rice Krispies to make treats and eat for cereal. Furthermore, why can’t regular Rice Krispies just be gf??”
  • “Why is Kellogg’s discontinuing Gluten Free Rice Krispies? Both my daughters & granddaughter have Celiac Disease. They used them in a lot of recipes & were so thankful when they found them & now this. I think Kellogg’s has made a huge mistake!!!!!”
  • “I would like to request that gluten free rice krispies continue to be available. …My grandson is gluten intolerant and there are many products he cannot have. I am the Food Service Director for our school district and we are seeing more students with gluten allergies. Most if (sic) the gluten free breads and grains are not that good. Please continue to produce this gluten free product.”

And finally:

  • “WHY DID YOU DISCONTINUE GLUTEN FREE RICE KRISPES!?!?!?!? As some one that has to eat GF I’m beyond heart broken, these were a serious staple food item in my home to eat as cereal AND to make treats! Now I am once again very limited when it comes to cereals. Very disappointed Kellogg’s!”

The response from the company’s customer service representatives was relatively consistent, citing poor sales and manufacturing issues:

  • “I’m sorry for any frustration that has been caused because Gluten Free Rice Krispies have been discontinued. Due to current manufacturing constraints, we had to make the difficult decision to stop making it.”
  • “Thank you for reaching out to us. …Due to disappointing sales and manufacturing constraints, we had to make the difficult decision to stop making it. The original Rice Krispies cereal contains malt flavoring. Malt flavoring is added to some of our foods to enhance the natural grain flavor. Since barley may be used to make malt flavoring, it may contain gluten.”
  • “Thank you for posting. …I apologize for any disappoint the discontinuation of Rice Krispies Gluten Free may have caused. It is always a hard decision to discontinue an item, as we know it is often someone’s favorite. I will be sure to pass your feedback along to the Product Teams.”

It’s interesting to note that although many grocery stores no longer carry the product on their shelves, there is apparently still some stock around — Life After Gluten found several boxes in the grocery section of a Wal-Mart store in Nova Scotia in early May.

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