According to a study commissioned by Almondy, just 10% of customers feel more confident since the onset of the new legislation whilst 35% are still concerned about gluten contamination when eating out.
Andrew Ely, managing director of Almondy, said: “For coeliac disease sufferers, eating out can be challenging, as it can be for caterers who want to be confident they are delivering a safe gluten-free menu – especially given the new allergen legislation.”
The study claimed that despite fears about contamination and allergen content, demand for gluten-free food was still high with 40% of respondents having purchased a gluten-free item.
Ely added: “It is near impossible to avoid gluten contamination in a commercial kitchen unless it is a 100% gluten-free site, which could prove highly dangerous for customers and costly for operators so careful consideration is needed when it comes to introducing coeliac friendly menu items.”
But despite growing interest in gluten-free eating and high demand for gluten free products, the research identified desserts as a potential area for improvement, with 41% of respondents saying they found current gluten-free dessert options boring or tasteless.
The range of available gluten-free desserts was also slammed, with 60% saying they wanted to see ideally between three and five options on menus.
Coeliac UK estimates that roughly one in every 100 people in the UK suffers from the condition, with under diagnosis a prominent issue facing treatment.
Coeliac disease sufferers can suffer serious health complications upon ingesting gluten, a protein found in wheat and similar grains.
These include diarrhoea, bloating, abdominal pain, weight loss, lethargy, malnutrition and stunted growth in children.
Coeliac awareness week takes place 11 – 17 May and is aimed at raising awareness of the condition and how it affects people.