Consumer Confidence at all Time High on Allergen Legislation Anniversary
Twelve months on and caterers have reacted positively to the introduction of EU legislation on allergens with over half (56%) of consumers saying they feel confident when eating out, according to new research by Almondy^.
The figure is the highest it’s been and is an improvement on the 42% of consumers who said they felt confident dining out when the same question was asked back in April 2015. Demonstrating how hard foodservice operators have worked to respond to the demands placed upon them since the regulations were first introduced a year ago, and which now require caterers to display the presence of 14 key allergens, including nuts and gluten.
The research by the Swedish, gluten-free bakery not only puts the spotlight on the role caterers have played in implementing the legislation, but suppliers to the foodservice sector who have also been quick to react. Almondy responded immediately to the legislation by redesigning the packaging for its popular frozen, almond biscuit-based cakes. This involved clearly highlighting any potential allergens in bold text on its ingredients list and the addition of a “May contain traces of peanuts and other nuts” warning.
Andrew Ely, Managing Director at Almondy, comments: “On the first anniversary of the regulations, it’s reassuring to see that diners with allergies are not only being catered for when eating out in terms of what’s on the menu, but that they are satisfied with the level of understanding foodservice outlets have about the issues they face and have implemented changes in their businesses which make them feel confident dining out.
“Safe, allergen-free menu options are a must for all foodservice outlets and at Almondy we’re proud to be able to help caterers meet this legislation by upholding our commitment too with clear and unequivocal on-pack allergen information.”
Although the news is positive, there is still work to be done, especially in view of recent studies which have confirmed a significant increase in the incidence of food allergies, in particular amongst children*. Research carried out only a year ago by Coeliac UK, the national charity for people with coeliac disease, adds further weight to these claims with the number of young children diagnosed with coeliac disease in the UK having almost tripled over the past 20 years.
Andrew adds: “An estimated 21 million people in the UK have at least one allergy and as this looks set to increase, catering for the free-from market is vital. Offering gluten-free options in particular can be a great way to build trade with research by Coeliac UK revealing that 74% of people would eat out every two weeks if more gluten-free options were available.”
Keen to remind caterers not to rest on their laurels, Andrew adds: “It’s not enough for caterers simply to serve free-from options, they must also understand how that food needs to be prepared and served. Therefore, it’s important that caterers continually refresh employee training to ensure catering for customers with allergies stays top of mind. Packaging should also be checked regularly to ensure any changes to ingredients are noted.”
He adds: “When we repeat our research again later in the year, we hope we will see consumer confidence levels rise once again.”
With Almondy’s comprehensive range of frozen desserts, caterers can rest assured that they are 100% safe for gluten-intolerant customers as they are made in a dedicated and certified gluten-free bakery that eliminates any risk of cross-contamination during production. The Almondy range includes the best-selling Almondy Cake with Daim, Almondy Cake with Toblerone and a Peanuts and Caramel variety.
The 14 allergens that need to be declared under the EU FIR 1169/2011 laws are: cereals including gluten, crustaceans, molluscs, fish, peanuts, lupin, tree nuts (such as almond, hazelnut, walnut), soya, eggs, milk, celery, mustard, sesame, and sulphur dioxide.
^Toluna 2015 *Allergy UK
To find out more about Almondy please call 01604 858 522 or visit www.almondy.com/en