Kathryn Miller, head of food policy for Coeliac UK, said the charity’s members were opting to eat out in restaurants over pubs due to “more choice and availability”.
Speaking exclusively to MA, Miller said it was “fantastic” to see some pubs, such as Wadworth, offering gluten-free dishes, but added there was “still room for improvement”.
“They [members] would like to see more British cuisine gluten-free options, so there is an opportunity for pubs to provide a good gluten-free offering and attract new customers,” Miller declared.
According to Coeliac UK, an estimated 1.3m Britons are on a diet free from gluten – a protein found in wheat and some other grains.
The charity also claimed the hospitality industry was missing out on an estimated £100m a year by not catering for people with coeliac disease.
As many as 90% of those on a gluten-free diet went out to eat in the last month, Miller added.
“The decision on where to eat is driven by the customer on a gluten-free diet, so if chefs and caterers can successfully cater for gluten-free customers they will bring their friends and family with them,” she insisted.
'They will come back'
“Not only that, they will come back time after time to a venue that can meet their needs.”
Curries, pasta dishes, risottos, burgers, sausage and mash, steak and chips and fish and chips are all pub meal options that can be modified to become gluten-free, while gluten-free batter can be used across all battered foods.
“If that’s not possible, make sure you control cross contamination during frying,” Miller added.
Learn more about the state of free-from pub food in upcoming stories and features this month.