Lily has a dairy allergy. It is the bane of my existence.
Actually, at this point, dealing with the allergy these days is not that bad. I know exactly what brands we need to buy of almost everything, so grocery shopping is a breeze (if expensive). There are dairy-free substitutes available for most things, so I am able to feed her pretty normally. We can’t eat cheese-based dishes, but otherwise things aren’t that difficult. I am even able to bake with her regularly and things taste good, thanks to butter flavored Crisco and Kroger brand semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Or at least I WAS able to bake with her.
Recently the cashier let me know something I bought had been recalled. The Kroger Value semi-sweet chocolate chips we’d come to know and love at our house had been contaminated with dairy. I was glad we hadn’t used our most recent bag, but assumed that this was only a problem with one particular batch of chips and we’d be able to continue using them in the future.
The next time I went to buy Kroger Value semi-sweet chocolate chips, I double checked the label and discovered that now they officially contain milk. They changed their recipe. They are no longer dairy-free.
“Aw, that’s too bad,” you say. “Move on and choose another brand.”
It’s not just too bad. It’s absolutely catastrophic. Kroger’s chocolate chips were the ONLY chocolate chips I’ve been able to find in regular grocery stores that did not contain dairy. Not only were they dairy-free, they weren’t intentionally vegan (if vegan at all. We aren’t vegan.) so they weren’t expensive. I believe they cost under $2 for 10 oz, though the internet will not spit up an official price for them.
For $2 I could buy chocolate chips and bake chocolate chip cookies with my dairy-allergic child– cookies that can not be bought at stores or in most bakeries. All of her cookies must be homemade because of the butter and dairy-containing chocolate almost all bakeries use.
Our chocolate chip cookie days are over. We can no longer walk into a Kroger and buy dairy-free chocolate chips in the regular baking aisle. In fact, our Kroger carries no dairy-free chocolate chips at all. Neither do our other local grocery store options Meijer and Wal-Mart. There are no dairy-free chocolate chips in our local regular stores. There is a vegan store in town, but I haven’t been there yet to see how much vegan chocolate chips cost. Everything in that store costs an arm and a leg so I suspect it won’t be cheap. The internet tells me I will be spending five times as much to get chips now that Kroger changed their recipe. A 10 oz. bag of dairy-free chips is nearly $10 on amazon.
Why did Kroger change the recipe? It wasn’t broken. The chips tasted great. And why are there no other mainstream chocolate chips without dairy? The dairy isn’t necessary unless the chips are made out of milk chocolate.
I guess from now on we’ll be baking oatmeal raisin cookies. I love oatmeal raisin, but chocolate chip cookies are a staple of childhood. I am heartbroken that the cost of chocolate chips is going to keep us from baking them.
Maybe there are other cheaper options out there, but for now I’m just fuming at Kroger for changing the recipe and taking away my easily accessible, cheap dairy-free chips.
It’s a good thing Oreos are dairy-free. (And they better stay that way!)