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Over 40% of the UK population is food allergic or intolerant

Over 40% of the UK population is food allergic or intolerant

If this seems like an unbelievably high number, just ask a group of friends whether they know anyone, family member or close friend, who has some kind of a food issue (nut allergy, lactose intolerance, coeliac, diabetic, IBS, hyperactive or autistic child, candida, arthritis, food-related mental health problems). You will be amazed how many do.

All of these people go to work (and need to eat lunch), want to go out in the evening (and need to eat dinner) and go away on holiday (and need to stay in a hotel).  And – as with vegetarians who are often accompanied by meat eaters – ‘intolerant’ eaters bring with them non-intolerant customers. The establishment that is not only  ‘intolerance’ aware, but also lets people know about it, is therefore almost inevitably going to attract more custom than its non-aware competitors.

Yet there is still very little known in the food service industry about food allergy and intolerance – both in terms of what food-intolerant people cannot eat and the ever-growing range of foods they can.

www.foodsmatter.com is a website (and a magazine) with over 1300 pages devoted to food allergy and intolerance. The site includes a large section devoted to recipes that are 'free-from' ingredients such as gluten, wheat, dairy, nut, soya and sugar.

There is also a comprehensive links section that includes every manufacturer of 'free-from' food in the country.

Foods Matter has also produced manuals specifically for caterers that can be used both for training and as a resource: www.allergycateringmanual.com and www.schoolscateringmanual.com.

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