The finding, in a survey by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), comes as pub suppliers and caterers gear up for the new EU allergen legislation, which comes into force in December.
Under the legislation, pubs will need to display information on 14 different allergens contained in any food and drink product.
In the survey, 4% of respondents reported having an allergy themselves.
Of that 4%, nearly two-thirds (66%) said they had seen a doctor about their allergy with 40% saying that it had been clinically diagnosed.
The FSA's Food and You survey, published every two years, provides information on people’s behaviours, attitudes and knowledge relating to food issues.
The survey found that 65% of respondents said that the cleanliness and hygiene of eating establishments was important – a higher proportion than good service (56%), recommendations and reviews (49%) and price (48%).
Furthermore, 30% said a good hygiene rating was important, compared with 24% four years ago.
The survey also showed an increase in awareness of the FSA’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, and the Food Hygiene Information Scheme in Scotland.
Latest figures show that 76% of respondents are aware of the schemes – up from 55% two years ago.
Around two-fifths (42%) said they had used a hygiene certificate or sticker to judge hygiene standards, compared with 32% two years ago.
Of those who had used a scheme, 91% said they found it helpful.
The Food and You survey provides data on people’s food purchasing, storage, preparation consumption habits, as well as factors that may affect these, such as eating habits, influences on where respondents choose to eat out and experiences of food poisoning.
This is the third round of the survey, which consisted of 3,453 interviews carried out by TNS BMRB.