08 October 2012

26.5 Billion Business Reasons to get into Food Allergy Business

How Food Allergy Gal can help your business
  1. Create Full Flavored Menu Items to “WOW” guest (that happen to be allergen free) 
  2. BE Sure your products are really "Free from" by analyzing current menu/products- do they 'wow' or just accommodate the guest?
  3. Post special menus online: utilize customized software to cater to multiple food allergies and advertise your efforts
  4. Certify and Train staff members- to ensure safety and minimize liability (earn continuing education credits) 
  5. Get additional marketing support from Food Allergy Gal- a real voice in the food allergy/gluten free consumer’s world. 

What's in it for your business? Increased Revenue, Raving fans and social responsibility! Catering to this market, is estimated to bring $26.5 Billion of revenue into the market place in the next 4 years.

CNBC did a great article on how catering to consumers with food allergies and intolerances can help business boom. This is a great quote, "It isn’t just large corporations that have watched how the rise in food allergies has sent sales soaring. Offering safe and savory food alternatives to those affected has turned into big business for food marketers and manufacturers." While Whole Foods is boasting about their $10 Billion Sales year in 2011, contributing their 12% growth rate largely to their gluten free and food allergy friendly products, everyone has a chance to get in on this, and consumers are practically begging grocery stores, restaurants, and bakeries to get involved. Allergy Eats recently reviewed an article about a challenge Food Allergy Gal has issued, the comments from consumers speak volumes. http://www.allergyeats.com/blog/index.php/food-allergy-gal-issues-challenge-to-restaurateurs-to-dine-with-her/

I am passionate about my business, because I live it every day but I also see 150 million others struggling with food allergies and their families too. Four (4) Percent of the food allergic are children, so the parents and siblings all have to deal with the food allergies as well.

I want to make sure we can all start enjoying life outside of our kitchens again. My goal is to help commercial kitchens everywhere, expand their knowledge on food allergies and food intolerances (i.e. Celiac and the rise of the Gluten free diet) and help bring safety, hospitality and food quality back for this group . If people feel safe eating out again, the retail food service industry could see expansion- just look at whole foods as the example (see below article.)

Even in tough economic times, people still eat and when diagnosed with food allergies, even more challenges are presented. When the "FoodAls" (food allergic people) are traveling, shopping, socializing, dating, visiting people in the hospital or going to school: the "where to eat, safely" is always top of mind. I strive to help the "FoodAls" by posting updates and reviews that include the words "allergy friendly" so that in searches they can easily find places that are or avoid places that are not. There are other sites and apps like AllergyEats.com which also aid "FoodAl's," but unless someone is posting regularly, it's tough to find them whenever, wherever.

As a food allergy consultant to commercial kitchens, when I talk to restaurant owners, if I bring up "food allergies," they often look sideways at me, but if I say "Gluten Free" they are suddenly very interested. The celiac world and celebrities have done an awesome job getting that message out there and there are only 3 million of them in the US... vs. the 12 million food allergic (U.S), not to mention the 150 Million worldwide.

It's time to raise the awareness in restaurants. If you are food allergic or intolerant ask if the establishment you are eating at has a special menu, ask for their ingredient book, ask if they are certified to manage allergens and gluten free environments. They have to post their results of the health inspection on their door, they should need to post weather they understand food allergens or not. I know I am tired of dealing with ignorance in food when I am at a food service establishment. To me, it is very scary when a server or cook doesn't know what dairy is and has a difficult time processing peanut vs. tree nut or doesn't know what is in pesto or other sauces. It's important that we educate our food service industry on food. I realize it is a job that requires no education, but being that it has the potential to kill or make someone very ill, it is time to start educating. Training and certifications on food allergies and intolerances are between $129 to $300 per person depending on the depth of the training.


For more information about Food Allergy Gal's Company visit the website: www.ilaraholland.com, or email: info@ilaraholland.com. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook


This is the CNBC Article Link.


Published: Monday, 8 Oct 2012 | 8:08 AM ET

By: Elizabeth Alterman

With the prevalence of food allergies and intolerances spreading faster than a case of hives, providing proper diagnoses and safe food options is keeping allergists and food manufacturers busier than ever.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the occurrence of food allergies and associated anaphylaxis— a life-threatening rapid onset reaction — increased 18 percent between 1997 and 2007.

Proteins from these top eight offenders are responsible for 90 percent of allergic reactions from foods: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

“We are definitely seeing more patients with food allergies in the last few years,” said Dr. Stanley Fineman, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “It’s hard to quantify in our practice, but years ago we would see about one new patient with food allergies every two to four weeks. Now we are seeing a new patient with food allergies about two to three times per week.”

Some 12 million Americans now suffer from food allergies, according to Foodallergy.org. Eight percent of all children are allergic to some kind of food, based on a 2011 study by the Food Allergy Initiative.

Shock to the System

According to the FDA, each year in the U.S., it is estimated that food-related anaphylaxis events resulted in:

• 30,000 emergency room visits

• 2,000 hospitalizations

• 150 deaths

The cost of visits to the ER or doctor’s office can really add up.

David Holdford, an associate professor of pharmacy at Virginia Commonwealth University, co-authored a study that estimated the annual cost of treating food allergy reactions at $340 million to $510 million per year.

Depending on the allergy, risk and treatment are a lifetime issue.

Of three top food allergies — milk, eggs, peanuts — most people outgrow the first two by school age, but 80 percent remain at risk with peanuts, according to Fineman.

While most food allergies aren’t considered deal breakers when it comes to obtaining medical coverage, eHealthInsurance specialist Keith Mendonsa recommends examining plans carefully to keep costs to a minimum.

To begin with, diagnosing allergies can be expensive and tedious, with physicians administering a battery of tests.

When food allergies are severe, they can cause an anaphylactic reaction, which can be treated by administering epinephrine, sometimes obtained by prescription from the doctor. Use of an EpiPen (self-injectable epinephrine) can potentially ward off a trip to the hospital but the pen isn’t cheap.

Based on a small sample size of regional pharmacy pricing for the generic form of the EpiPen, a person without insurance would pay full retail price — around $200, Mendonsa said.

Those who have health insurance with prescription coverage and a deductible are likely pay a lower negotiated rate — closer to $75 — until the drug plan's deductible limit is reached, at which point it would be based on the plan's co-pay, which can range from $2 to $65 depending on the plan and the specific drugs prescribed. But because this drug likely falls under the "non-formulary" category, co-pay costs could be more volatile, Mendonsa noted.

Big Market for Food Manufacturers

Offering safe and savory food alternatives to those affected has turned into big business for food marketers and manufacturers.

Whole Foods, a leader in providing allergen- and gluten-free products and in catering to an upscale clientele, saw sales top $10 billion in 2011, up more than 12 percent from the previous year.

The natural food retailer, boasting its own gluten-free bake house, is opening a record nine new stores in the third quarter of fiscal 2012 and plans 27 to 32 others in fiscal 2013.

Yet it isn’t just large corporations that have watched how the rise in food allergies has sent sales soaring.


Food Allergy Gal is for Hire: www.ilaraholland.com. We customize each food allergy plan to meet your food service business' needs.

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