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It's the time of year we all wait for - the time when coeliac clear their freezers ready for the drop of Co-op Christmas party food.
But alas, the curse of 2021 seems to have struck again because this year, Co-op's frozen party food is not gluten free.
That's right, the spring rolls, tempura prawns, chilli cheese bites and more, which in previously years have been practically worshipped by coeliacs are GONE.
Instead, we've watched somewhat dumbstruck at Co-op has launched all of the same products, but with an 'Allergy Update' label.
And that update? Wheat my friends - good ol' wheat.
So that begs the question - which Co-op Christmas party foods are still gluten free? Why did they change the recipe? And what the hell will I do without spring rolls!?
I spoke to Co-op to get some answers - though I warn you, they may not be what you want to hear.
Here's everything you need to know about Co-op Christmas party food range and what is gluten free.
Which Co-op party foods were gluten free?
Co-op's range of frozen party food was honestly like nowhere else - and basically a gluten free person's dream.
The party food range in 2020 included spring rolls, tempura prawns, mozzarella sticks, chilli cheese bites, samosas, Indian food platters and more.
And they were all completely gluten free, which is virtually unheard of anywhere else.
Honestly, in making this decision to change the recipe, Co-op has probably gone from the top spot of my supermarket list to rock bottom.
Why did Co-op change their party food recipe?
Currently, your guess is as good as mine.
I've asked Co-op this (twice) now and am still waiting for a response, so of course I will update you when I hear back.
All I've had so far is the following statement:
We’ve a great range of Christmas fresh gluten free party food this year with two new products: hot & spicy prawns and salt & pepper goujons, alongside two popular GF frozen party food products. We apologise that our new recipes mean some of our frozen lines aren't now GF but are confident customers will love our fresh GF party food, much of which can be frozen. They will be in stores soon.A Co-Op spokesperson
As yet I would put money on it that their response will be picked from the usual three suspects:
- Supply chain issues
I mean, I know there have been so many issues because of these major events, but I do think clear communication would be best here.
Logistically these things always come down to money and I know with the price of rice flour rocketing in 2021, it's likely this has something to do with it.
Generally it's much cheaper to make things with wheat flour, and all the supply issues with Brexit and Covid have been tricky for retailers.
We've all seen the news stories about supermarket shortages, so I do have some sympathy if they have changed suppliers for this reason.
But otherwise I do fail to understand the allergy change - especially when these were never branded 'free from' so they would have been bought by everyone.
Which Co-op frozen party foods are gluten free?
In 2021, only TWO of Co-op's frozen Christmas party food range is still gluten free.
This is down from at least half a dozen amazing products which are now sadly not gluten free anymore.
The two Co-op frozen party foods which are still gluten free are:
- Co-op Salted Caramel Profiteroles
- Co-op Cocktail Sausages
If you're searching for them in store, you're looking for these (pics from 2020, so the packaging may differ slightly):
Which other Co-op Christmas party foods are gluten free?
While removing it's line of gluten free frozen party foods is a huge blow, Co-op does have some pretty good options in its chilled party food line.
Currently the gluten free options in Co-Op's chilled party food range are:
In Store now:
- Cheese Stars and Soft Cheese and Garlic Bites
- Hot And Spicy Coated Prawns
- Roast Veg Arancini Bites
In Store Date 15th December:
- Honey Mustard Sausages
- Smoked Salmon And Three Cheese Fishcakes
- Sea Salt Cracked Black Pepper Haddock Goujons
- Ham And Cheese Croquettes
And here are some photos so you know just what to look out for...
Co-op Cheese Stars and Soft Cheese and Garlic Bites
As you probably know, I am a bit obsessed with any breaded cheese foods so these are definitely going on the shopping list.
The cheese and garlic bites sound really good and will hopefully *slightly* fill the mozzarella-stick-shaped hole in my life.
Co-op hot and spicy coated prawns
I know a lot of you are sad at the loss of the tempura prawns and while these aren't quite the same, I think they sound better!?
The coconut and chilli prawns were lovely last year so I imagine these will be just as good.
Co-op Roast Veg Arancini Bites
Arancini always go down a treat in our household and these roasted veg arancini with a mozzarella and bechamel filling sound lovely.
I'll definitely be picking up a pack of these from the chillers to try.
Co-op Salt and Pepper Haddock Goujons
I have to say these salt and pepper haddock goujons sound amazing!
I am obsessed with the Co-op haddock goujons anyway so I have no doubt I will get through quite a lot of these.
Co-op Ham and Cheese Croquettes
I really loved these ham and cheese croquettes last year and so I'm pleased these are making a comeback.
With a lovely cheese, ham and potato filling covered in breadcrumbs, you can't really go wrong!
Co-op Smoked Salmon and Three Cheese Fishcakes
These smoked salmon and three cheese fishcakes are another Co-op party food which were so good last year!
I think I scoffed a pack of these in one sitting - they're incredibly moreish.
Other party food options out there...
If you're really missing the Co-op frozen party food, I have some replacements for a few of the items they used to have.
If you miss gluten free spring rolls, you could hit up M&S to see if you can get hold of theirs in the chilled free from aisle.
M&S also do gluten free samosas which may replace the Indian platter, though sadly it sounds like some stores have temporarily got rid of their free from chilled aisles for Christmas.
Honestly guys - coeliac is for life, not just for Christmas, though these stores might have you believe otherwise.
And I did find Morrisons have released come chilli cheese bites in their frozen free from aisle which I am SUPER excited about, as these were my fave Co-op product previously.
In fact, it looks like Morrisons have massively upped their frozen party food game, so watch this space as I'll be heading out to investigate soon!
I also have a whole host of gluten free party food recipes which I'm steadily adding to, so why not try making your own instead?
Need some more gluten free Christmas inspiration?
If you’re after some more gluten free Christmas classics then make sure you check out my Gluten Free Christmas ebook
From sticky toffee pudding and mince pies to bread sticks and cheese crackers, there’s something for everyone.
You can have a look at my Gluten Free Christmas ebook and purchase it here.