01 February 2013

2013 Goals for Food Allergy Advocacy

This year Food Allergy Gal a.k.a Lara Holland, Food Allergy Consultancy intends to help over 150 retail food establishments from grocers to restaurants. How will we do this and why?

  1. The number of adults with late onset food allergies continues to rise, just as much as kids with food allergies. Adults suffering from late onset food allergies typically struggle the most in eating out, because they don't have an advocate AND they know what "real" food is suppose to taste like, or they remember something tasting a certain way and expect the same great quality. 
  2. Many consumers diagnosed with food allergies have stopped eating out all together, because beyond the ignorance most people have who work in food service about food allergies, options are limited and it's embarrassing to have to inconvenience others from those they are dining with to those serving them. 
  3. Shopping for food with food allergies is equally as difficult and time consuming but the level of confidence is increased when a consumer can read every ingredient in packaging and they don't feel they are putting anyone else out. Grocery shopping takes a much longer time and coming up with creative recipes is equally as difficult. 
  1. We believe education is the key. If we could train and certify 150 food establishments per year, we would see the sensitivity of food allergies increase, the standardization begin to form, the confidence of consumers with food allergies and those that dine with them increase. To sign up for an AllerCert Course, please click here. 
  2. Build menus that cater to the food allergic/sensitive. We have seen an increase in the gluten free menu being offered. So why don't we have the same for a food allergic? If we could create a special menu with just 5 foods that are top 10 food allergy free- or list every ingredient in the menu item and highlight the allergens, it would make ordering so much easier. #AllerSmartMenu is the key. 
    1. Too many times a waitress or a cook thinks there is no way a dish could have dairy or nuts (as an example) but unless they have triple checked the labels and spoken with the chef there are tons of hidden ingredients most trained food service professionals are not aware of. 
  3. Work with product manufactures and grocers. We aim to help product manufactures and grocers with easy to identify labeling and help grocers understand the importance of carrying good/safe products and how to merchandise for the food allergic we will help ease shopping experiences and provide more options for food allergic. 
Facts and Stats 
220 million people worldwide allergic to one or more foods. There is no cure for food allergies except strict avoidance of the food(s) the person is allergic to. There is no explanation as to why or when a person develops a food allergy. It could happen at anytime, anywhere. If a person consumes something they are 100% allergic to they could die if they are not treated immediately. People with food sensitivities (i.e. gluten) will develop painful illnesses that could last 1 to 7 days and other side effects could last up to 1 month. The food allergy/gluten free market is still untapped. It represents $26.5 billion in the next 4 years. There is potential to grow and expand revenue, on top of doing the socially responsible thing. 

Questions for our readers
We are always looking from feedback and comments from our readers. Do you think this will work? Do you agree with the solutions? How do you think we can better reach restaurants and grocers to help them understand the importance of this and get them to adopt this process? What would make your life easier as a  food allergic or a parent or friend of a food allergic? (Beyond the obvious cure food allergies)

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