GLUTEN FREE CONFIDENCE SCORE: 5/10
The below hot chocolate/hot cocoa mixes all are considered acceptable for the legal limit and are considered “gluten-free” or “no gluten ingredients” by their manufacturers. But, that doesn’t mean they are completely free of gluten — as we all know, many people react to gluten below the levels considered legally gluten-free.
Swiss Miss. Swiss Miss may be the best-known hot chocolate mix, and the company makes a variety of different flavors, including Diet and No Sugar Added varieties. Since January 2012, all are considered gluten-free to GF-20 levels, and are carrying “gluten-free” designations on their labels. Swiss Miss is a ConAgra company, and ConAgra has a policy of clearly disclosing all gluten-containing ingredients on the label, including those from barley and rye.
Hershey’s. Both Hershey’s Cocoa and Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa appear on the company’s 2012 gluten-free list. Hershey’s tests its product to 20 parts per million (ppm), or GF-20 levels. Note that even though Special Dark cocoa is considered gluten-free, Special Dark chocolate bars are not gluten-free.
Ghiradelli. This hot cocoa in four flavors: Double Chocolate, Chocolate Mocha, White Mocha and Chocolate Hazelnut. Only one Ghiradelli product — the Luxe Milk Crisp bars — contain a gluten ingredient (barley malt). Those are not made on the same equipment as the powdered mixes. However, Ghiradelli does not test for gluten and does not maintain a gluten-free list, so recommend caution with all Ghiradelli products, including hot cocoa.
Land O Lakes. Cocoa Classics, distributed by Land O Lakes, is available in 12 different flavors. Land O Lakes does not maintain a gluten-free list, but says that it will provide “complete and accurate ingredient information” on its labels. None of the 12 Cocoa Classics products contain gluten ingredients, HOWEVER, the company does not test them for gluten cross-contamination.