Bugles are a classic corn chip snack made by General Mills that do not contain any gluten in their ingredients. However, they do not have a certified gluten-free label and they are made in a facility with other gluten containing products, so trace amounts of gluten are possible.
Bugles are the perfect snack for those looking to avoid gluten. However, if you have a severe allergy or intolerance to gluten, you’re better off not choosing these tasty treats as there is a risk of cross contamination from other food products made in the same facility with gluten.
In this article, you will learn why Bugles may not be considered gluten-free and which flavors of Bugles are definitely not gluten-free. Additionally, we will cover the ingredients of bugles as well as some gluten-free alternatives to Bugles.
Why Might Bugles Not Be Considered Gluten-Free?
While Bugles are primarily made of corn products and do not have any wheat products listed in their ingredients, they may not be as gluten-free as you think. Bugles are made in the same facility as other food products that do contain gluten. Although workers take care not to cross contaminate food items, accidents do happen.
It is possible for trace amounts of gluten to be transferred to supposedly gluten-free products if a machine wasn’t washed thoroughly enough or ingredients were stored together. Because of this, Bugles does not have a gluten-free certified label on their packages to warn anyone who may be sensitive to gluten that Bugles may not be completely safe to eat.
Additionally, Bugles come in a variety of different flavors some of which may have gluten in their flavoring. These types are also not gluten-free as noted by the presence of wheat or wheat derivatives in their ingredients list.
What Flavors of Bugles Are Not Gluten-Free?
In addition to the original Bugles flavor, General Mills has created six varieties of sweet, tangy, or cheesy types of Bugles for all different tastes. Nacho cheese, chili cheese, and ranch satisfy those that crave the savory, while caramel, chocolate and peanut butter, and churro are for those like the sweet side of life.
Despite the addition of flavor ingredients, none of these explicitly contain gluten; however, the warning on the package remains the same as the original flavor. All of the Bugles flavors are manufactured and packaged in a facility with other General Mills snacks that do contain wheat products.
Thus, each bag of Bugles will come with a label stating the possibility of cross contamination with wheat products among other common allergens such as milk, nuts, and soy. If you so desire, you can have the different flavors tested to see what trace amounts of gluten may be present.
However, if you are severely allergic to gluten, it might be safer to stick to alternative snacks that you know are gluten-free and safe for you to eat.
What Are the Ingredients of Bugles?
The original flavor of Bugles only contains five simple ingredients – none of which are wheat or wheat derived products that contain gluten. The primary ingredient in Bugles is corn meal. Salt, sugar, a little bit of baking soda, and palm kernel or coconut oil are added just to give the treat a little bit of flavor. That’s it – just five simple ingredients.
For the various flavors of Bugles, you will find other additives, most commonly different spices. For some of the sweeter flavors, more and different kinds of sugar, cocoa powder, and nut butters may be present. However, none of these flavorings contain gluten either.
Although the ingredients list is straight forward, there is always the possibility of gluten contamination. The trace amounts are so small though that they do not need to be listed under the ingredients list. However, there is an additional warning beneath the ingredients list that indicates the potential for the presence of wheat.
While not the healthiest snack in the world, Bugles are fairly safe to eat for those who are not severely allergic to gluten. If you have any concerns about the potential for gluten in any General Mills Bugles product, you can have the snack tested for gluten to confirm its absence before you eat it.
What Are Some Gluten-Free Alternatives to Bugles?
If you don’t want to risk the potential for gluten contamination in your Bugles, there is a wide variety of snack alternatives that are just as crunchy and satisfy that munchiness craving.
One of the best alternatives is Fritos original corn chips. Also made from corn, Fritos are certified gluten-free so that you can feel confident about eating them without the risk of contamination. Fritos also offers some of the same flavors that Bugles do such as ranch and chili cheese.
For those looking for the sweet and salty mix-up of some of Bugles more adventurous flavors, you can throw together your own gluten-free Chex mix. Corn and rice Chex are also certified gluten-free products and can be combined with a number of other gluten-free snacks like chocolate chips, cinnamon sugar, and nut butters.
In fact, one of the most popular Chex mixes that come pre-packaged or you can make on your own is a great imitation of Bugles chocolate and peanut butter flavor – Muddy Buddies. Just use corn Chex instead of rice and you’ve got a similar concoction to Bugles.
Bugles do not contain any wheat products so technically they are gluten-free. However, they are manufactured in a facility that also makes other food products with gluten so there is a risk of cross contamination.
As such, a warning is printed on every package of Bugles including all of the flavors so that those who are extremely sensitive to gluten know to avoid these snacks. There are gluten-free certified alternatives such as Fritos corn chips and certain Chex mixes with corn and rice Chex that make great replacements for Bugles.