According to Coeliac UK, one in 100 people in the UK have coeliac disease and have to follow a strict gluten-free diet and many more suffer with gluten intolerance with many others choosing to exclude gluten from their diet for lifestyle reasons.
The charity discovered that 80% of 3,000 of its members said when they eat out with other people, their need for safe, gluten-free options determines where they eat.
It also found that almost three quarters of people (74%) would eat out every two weeks if more gluten-free options were available.
Coeliac UK has issued some top tips on how pubs can cater for gluten-free diners:
- Source the right ingredients – use trusted suppliers and always check the ingredients list to avoid foods containing wheat, rye, barley and oats. Choose naturally gluten-free ingredients or gluten-free alternatives.
- Ensure gluten-free and gluten-containing ingredients are kept separate in sealed and labelled containers as well as that gluten-free ingredients are stored above gluten in storage areas so if there is any spillage, it will not cross contaminate the gluten-free ingredients.
- Use clean or dedicated utensil and equipment for gluten-free dishes, clean surfaces before preparation and washing of hands before preparing gluten-free meals.
- Ensure staff are trained on the importance of controlling cross contamination and providing safe gluten-free foods.
- Make sure all menus are labelled clearly to indicate dishes suitable for a gluten-free diet and ensure effective communication between front and back of house.
The charity released easy-to-understand guidance in May last year. The publication, which was also backed by the Food Standards Agency, aims to improve the levels of understanding among caterers as well as increase the skills and knowledge of both front and back-of-house staff in preparing and serving gluten-free food.
Catering gluten-free: how to get it right outlined the steps kitchens should take to reduce the risk of cross contamination with gluten at all stages of food preparation and identify potential risks in the process.