Back in May I flew to Aberdeen for work and wasn’t aware until on the flight that BMI Regional offer complimentary snacks and drinks. As I hadn’t advised beforehand that I was a coeliac I assumed that I wouldn’t be able to have anything, but figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask.
To my surprise the cabin crew said they’d check to see if they had a spare gluten free box. A gluten free box?! Ooh how exciting!
I was delighted when a few minutes later, once everyone else had been served, I was given a BMI Regional branded ‘New Well-Being Box, The Good Life’. The front of the box stated ‘say hello to our selection of tasty nut, gluten and milk free bites, chosen from the best of British – enjoy’. Wow – multiple allergies covered in one box, how impressive!
Until you open it….
Oloves Basil & Garlic
Not a great option for me as I don’t like olives, but clearly labelled as gluten, wheat, dairy and nut free and a great snack for a lot of people.
Luxury Cake Slice (Welsh Hills Bakery)
I was very scared to see a cake in the pack, but according to the ingredients all is good on the gluten free front, however ‘may contain nuts’ doesn’t seem to fulfil the nut free conditions of this box?!
Lily O’Brien’s Luxury Marbled Chocolate
The one product out of the 3 in the box that doesn’t fulfil ANY of the free from conditions of the box! ‘Contains Milk & Soya, May contain traces of Nuts, Wheat & Gluten’!!!!
Come on BMI Regional what the hell are you playing at?!
If you hand this box out to people saying it’s gluten free, as you did in my case, if someone actually takes your word for that you’re going to make them very ill! With regard to people with nut allergies it’s just down right ridiculous, you could give someone anaphylactic shock!
It’s hard enough having food on flights as it is, unless you take your own, but I’d sooner go without than having one of your amazing ‘The Good Life’ boxes, which is certainly not going to leave your customers feeling the good life!!!
I’d normally say I appreciate the effort of you trying to put something together, but when it’s this bad, I really don’t.
BMI Regional Response
Following my blog post, the BMI Regional Marketing Director contacted me through my blog. Please find below the subsequent email communications:
My name is Colin, I am the bmi regional Marketing Director.
As I am coeliac, I am the guy who picked the GF box for the flights. I talked to each of the suppliers myself. Each of the products is GF. They have to say ‘may contain…..’ if the product is made in the same factory as something that is non GF.
However, I have subsequently got rid of the Lily OBriens, and moved it some thing that is fruit based.
As a coeliac myself I know how gf labelling works and I’m sure coeliac UK will agree that the labelling on that product contradicts the gf term (I’ve queried something similar with them before).
As a coeliac surely you wouldn’t eat a product labelled as such? I certainly wouldn’t which defeats the purpose of your box.
To be honest, I’m more concerned about your inclusion of nut products, that could have such a massive impact!
I eat anything that says ‘made in a factory with flour, nut’ etc and have done so for 20 years since I was diagnosed, likewise my mother.
I have talked to the factories involved. They all say the same thing – they have to put it on their packaging, but they are convinced that there is no gluten issues due to their scrupulousness.
So that’s it, nothing more to add?!
As I mentioned on the blog, we have taken the chocolate out of the pack. It now has a fruit based sweet – totally gluten free.
The cake, made by Welsh Hills Bakery is totally gluten free. See their details here: http://www.lovemorefoods.com/our-range/cakes/. You will note that they also say ‘every batch of every delivery of all relevant ingredients and every batch of finished products that are declared MILK FREE are tested and positively released as milk free (ie <2.5ppm Total Milk). These tests are carried out in our in-house laboratory – likewise for gluten’.
The olives are, by definition, gluten free.
So, the package is perfect for coeliacs like you and I.
All of them are dairy free. Two are totally nut free.
One of the products, the cake made by Welsh Hills Bakery, is not made with any nuts. It is made in a factory that has nuts in it, as the manufacturer has mentioned on the packaging. The manufacturer has put in safeguards to ensure that the products is nut free, but as it is made in a factory that has nuts in it, they have to mention it.
I hope that clears everything up.
But at the time I had my box do you agree that the chocolate bar should not have been included and that’s why it’s been removed?
No further response received….
Last week I flew to Aberdeen again and made sure that the booking company made a note of my dietary requirements.
Not long into the flight the cabin crew offered their complimentary snack box. I asked for a gluten free version of the box and the lady advised that she would bring one to me.
However, on receiving the box it was clear that it had already been opened (presumably to swap products?) and it was also one week out of date!!
I informed the cabin crew and she immediately went to check the other boxes, before advising that they were all out of date! After checking the individual items she confirmed that only the olives and sweets were in date. As I don’t like olives, my breakfast that day consisted of a small bag of Goody Good Stuff Summer Peaches, which were obviously the replacement for the chocolate bar.
Fortunately on the flight home I received an in date box, but this once again highlights the failings of BMI Regional.
Has anyone else had issues on flights when it comes to dietary requirements? Do you have any comments in response to BMI’s communications following my blog post? Please leave your comments below!