This post about food dyes contains affiliate links. If you click one of them and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. See my full disclosures here. Hi again! If you're still reading, then you're at least considering going dye-free, right? Either that, or you're just really curious. Works for me either way, I'm glad you're here!
I will be honest. The first time you go to the grocery store to shop dye-free, it will feel completely overwhelming. It will take longer, because you will have to read every label. It will seem as though every box or bag you pick up contains toxic ingredients you wish to avoid. You will probably feel frustrated that so many of your favorites (or your kids favorites) will not be in your cart any more.
It's tough. I get it. Hang in there.
The first time I went shopping after we decided to eliminate food dyes, , I had no idea what I was doing, beyond reading every label. I also went with 4 kids. Whoops. If I had a do-over, I'd definitely go kid free. I was so frustrated that midway through the shop, I ended up giving my kids a dye filled snack. Whoops.
After that first trip, I was discouraged. I knew it was the right decision for our family, but I felt like my 20-minute quick grocery stops were a thing of the past (hint: it's not!).
That's why I'm writing this post. I want to help you have a smoother transition. I've got a few tools in my arsenal now, and I'm going to spill the beans and share them all with you. (When you're done reading this post, you can sign up for my newsletter on the right sidebar. If you do, I'll send you my FREE Dye-Free Shopping Guide so you can take it to the store with you!)
So, let's get started!
The Best Places to Shop Dye Free
(These suggestions will vary somewhat by location. I'm in the Midwest.)
1. Aldi. This chain is not only super affordable, but they also do not allow synthetic dyes in any of their labels. This is an amazing thing for our family, and this is why they are at the top of my list. I am a loyal Aldi fan forever because of this. Their brands include Millville, Friendly Farms, Simply Natural (their organic line), Never Any! (their nitrate, antibiotic free meats), Southern Grove, Baker's Corner, Tuscan Grove, and others.
3. Sam's Club/Costco. If you have a membership to one of these warehouse clubs, this could be a great place to find snacks and other dye-free items. The prices are slightly higher then Aldi in my area, but if you don't have Aldi, or really like the convenience of bulk buying, this could be a great resource for you.
4. Fresh Thyme/Whole Foods. This option is definitely more expensive then some of the above options, but sometimes they just have things other places don't stock. I shop at Fresh Thyme frequently for produce and meat sales, and while I'm there I pick up a few of our other dye-free staples (like Earthpaste.)
You can, of course, shop at your usual grocery store. Just read your labels. If there are things you can't find, check out one of the options above.
Dye-Free Products (By Category)
This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are plenty of other options that I do not have room to list, in fact, I haven't even tried. This is just a starting point. Also, keep reading the labels, because sometimes manufacturers change their recipes without warning! I have linked to Amazon (affiliate links), but these may or may not be the best prices available).
Sprite and 7Up
Mountain Dew White Label (Regular Mountain Dew and most of the other varieties are NOT dye free)
Any juice that is 100% juice
Most coffee and teas (check labels, occasionally something will sneak in there!)
Note: We buy most of our snacks at Aldi. As mentioned earlier, all their products are free of food dyes. My kids love that they can get the Aldi version of Cheetos and Doritos (the name brand products are full of food dyes). There are other options there too, like fruit snacks, cheese crackers, and even their dye-free version of Kool-aid. Here's a list of some options other then Aldi.
Nature's Valley Granola Bars
Pretzels (generally ok, check the label)
Popsicle brand popsicles
Edy's Fruit Bars
Pringles Original (Most potato chips ok, but check labels!)
Bryer's Naturals Ice Cream (Read labels, some have Carrageenan)
Other Brands Without Food Dyes (some or all products)
General Mills Cereal
Kraft Mac & Cheese
This is not a super-long list. It's meant only to give you a place to start as you rework your grocery routine. As you go, you'll find new favorites, and I'm willing to bet that you won't miss the old ones for all that long. After a while, you'll start to taste the chemical taste of dye in food when you consume it. It's wild that we don't even notice it until we get used to foods without it!
Want some more assistance on this journey? I have created a FREE printable shopping guide that you can take to the store to help you on your dye-free journey. All you have to do is sign up for my newsletter , and my free grocery guide will land in your inbox!