Chefs, catering students and food manufacturers are being urged to do more to meet the needs of customers with coeliac disease.
It is thought about one in every 100 people suffer from coeliac disease - an intolerance to gluten - but many caterers are not aware of the problem.
Speaking at a conference organised by the Coeliac UK society, Philippe Rossiter, chief executive of the Hotel and Catering International Management Association (HCIMA), said there was a big job to be done to educate chefs and other caterers about the needs of people with coeliac disease.
"Building awareness, education and raising standards are three key issues which the HCIMA is committed to delivering," he said.
"It is estimated that by 2020 half of the UK's food expenditure will be on food eaten outside the home. Coeliacs, who follow a gluten-free diet out of necessity not choice, need the confidence to know their meal has been prepared and cooked by someone who understands their dietary requirements."
Coeliac UK's chief executive Andrew Ladds said: "We invited Mr Rossiter to speak at our AGM as members find eating outside the home challenging and difficult. "He was able to reassure us that the HCIMA has a long-term strategy in place for increasing awareness of gluten-free catering."
Guidelines to help chefs and caterers understand gluten-free cooking have been developed by the HCIMA and Coeliac UK.
For more information visit www.coeliac.co.uk.