Operators could be at risk of serving “hidden” gluten to coeliac customers, new research suggests

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

Coeliac customers could be accidentally receiving chips with gluten in them
Coeliac customers could be accidentally receiving chips with gluten in them

Related tags: Wheat, Gluten-free diet

Research commissioned by Aviko reported that roughly 60% of consumers did not know that chips are not necessarily gluten-free, meaning they could be unknowingly ordering meals containing the wheat protein which can cause serious health issues in coeliac sufferers.

Mohammed Essa, general manager at Aviko, said: “With the recent allergen legislation coming into effect it’s never been more important for operators to be fully aware of what’s on their menus.

"Though potatoes themselves don’t contain gluten, how and where they are prepared means that operators could be unintentionally serving gluten to customers, which can mean serious side effects for those with an intolerance.”   

Profit opportunity

Essa added: “We can see from the research that a shocking 73% of people don’t feel that the out-of-home sector does enough to cater for gluten intolerances, putting operators and their customers at risk.”

According to the study, 21% of people said they would be willing to pay more for a gluten-free meal, with 29% claiming they would not return to a business without an adequate number of acceptable, gluten-free menu options.

38% of respondents also said they would choose gluten-free side dishes if they were available.

Range potential

Expanding a gluten-free or free-from food offer could be key to driving profits from health-conscious customers, a separate survey by Leatherhead Food Research suggests.

76% percent of consumers opting for a gluten-free lifestyle said they wanted a better range of products whilst 70% said free-from products should be more widely available.

Mark Lyddy, head of foodservice at Tilda, said: “With gluten-free restaurant orders up 12.8% in 2014, operators have to cater for the needs of this growing market, but at the same time are under pressure to ensure the offering is not “second best” in terms of taste and quality.”

Health issues

According to figures from Coeliac UK, 1 in 100 people have the disease caused by intolerance to gluten.

Symptoms of coeliac disease can include bloating, diarrhoea, nausea, wind, constipation, tiredness, headaches, weight loss, hair loss and anaemia.

It is estimated that roughly 24% of coeliac sufferers have not yet been diagnosed.

Related topics: News, Healthy options

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Posted by Dan Simpson,

When you come to my pub the sign says food will contain gluten and nuts, not maybe, will. Don't like it, bye, go to somewhere else. Stupid survey by stupid people, are they solicitors expecting to sue??

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this sums it up

Posted by Trade Stalwart,

link to video on Gluten intolerence youtu.be/Oht9AEq1798

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Utterly useless

Posted by david,

Indeed Geo, utterly useless.

I'm left wondering what the recommended procedure is for operators who might be requested to serve chips to the 24% of people who have a gluten intolerance but don't know they have!!

And how operators are expected to differentiate between these people requesting chips who have a gluten intolerance but don't know it and those who don't have a gluten intolerance and who do know it, not to mention those who don't have a gluten intolerance and know it, or those who have a gluten intolerance and know it but live with it and/or take a chance when ordering chips.

All of this should really slow down the queue at McDonalds.

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