Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!
It seems that more and more companies are offering free food to their employees during the workday. Snacks in the office can be a great perk, but how often are they soy-free? Since many typical snack foods contain soy, how can you figure out what snacks are okay to eat and, if needed, request a soy-free option?
The first place to start with any workplace food is to try to identify the ingredients. Since most office snacks are likely to be pre-packaged, ingredient information should be relatively easy to find. Maybe your office's snacks are in a cupboard and you can check the ingredients of each item, or if they are in a communal jar you should be able to find the supply closet to check their ingredients. Remember that not all processed food contains soy, so it is definitely worth looking at the ingredients of each item.
If you can't find the ingredients, consider asking the person in charge of the food. This can feel a bit awkward (especially if you've just started at a new company and are still getting to know people), but it doesn't have to be a big deal. A simple question of: "who runs the snack cupboard?" or "do you know where I could find the ingredients of our snacks?" will get you all the information you need without coming across as too needy or revealing personal information that you aren't ready to share.
If you find that no existing snack option is soy-free, you can probably request a change (it's okay to ask for a different food, but recognize that a change may not happen). It's best to approach this conversation from a "might this be possible?" point of view instead of a "you must accommodate me" tone. We recommend that you ask about how often the snack food changes, and if they would be willing to include a soy-free snack during the next purchase. Since the point of office snacks is to benefit employees, companies shouldn't have an issue with at least discussing your request.
In some larger organizations the food may be catered or handled by an external company. In this case, the same practices apply: try to identify what the ingredients are and then, if needed, ask the person who handles the catering about including a soy-free option.
Any food allergy or intolerance shouldn't require forgoing the office snacks! Working with your company in a positive way can help everyone enjoy a bite of food during a break at the office.