Under the new Food Information for Consumers Regulation, pubs will now need to provide information on any of the 14 allergens used as ingredients for food.
The new Pub How to Guide details ways in which pubs can prepare for the new allergen law and provides advice on adapting dishes on the menu.
How will this affect your pub?
Pubs will now need to provide specific allergen information on menus or clearly signpost where this information can be obtained – such as a training manual or guide.
Staff must be fully trained on how to deal with allergen enquiries and be provided with as much information as possible.
When taking group bookings be sure to ask if any of the party has any dietary requirements in order to avoid unexpected challenges.
Adapting the menu
Creating a menu without any of the 14 key allergens is difficult, but some top selling pub dishes can be adapted to make them suitable for those with common allergies and food intolerances.
Fish and chips are a popular dish in most pubs but a traditional fish batter contains egg. For those that can’t eat egg try creating a tempura batter using rice and potato flour mixed and blended with soda water. Gluten free cornflakes can also be used to make a crumbed batter but check the labelling on the cornflakes as not all of them are gluten free.
When making Yorkshire puddings switch from standard cow’s milk to soya, rice or nut milk – which is only suitable for guests without nut allergies.
Switch from standard wheat flour to gluten free flour which is usually a blend of potato, rice, tapioca, maize and buckwheat flours.
Traditional crumble toppings contain gluten and sometimes nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts. Instead, leave out the nuts and use and gluten free oat bran that will give the topping a nutty flavour.
Allergens in a nutshell – the figures
The allergen law comes into play on 13 December and Unilever Food Solutions found that 19% of pubs surveyed said they were not ready for the change while 44% said they needed to invest in more training.
As many as 67% of pub operators are regularly asked by customers for information on allergens, while 75% of pubs can’t identify the specific allergens.
Many people with food allergies suffer from asthma which can make food reactions more severe while 67% of allergy sufferers eat out less due to lack of choice according to a survey by the Free From Food Show.
The Unilever Food Solutions Pub How to Guide can be downloaded from www.ufs.com/pubs