The gluten and allergen-free market has seen a huge rise in recent years and this popularity is showing no signs of slowing down; according to recent research published by MarketsandMarkets, free-from food will be valued at $6.47 billion worldwide by 2023. This figure not only highlights the importance of understanding allergens but demonstrates a huge market opportunity for operators.  

Additional revenue 

Many operators are losing potential revenue by providing inadequate menu alternatives for those with allergens. The gluten-free market is just one example; it’s predicted the catering industry loses out on £100m a year just by failing to provide a satisfactory range of gluten-free options.

Highlighting an allergen-free offering across websites, social media platforms and other consumer touch points will help operators build a reputation for catering to allergens and help drive additional footfall. McCain Foodservice recently launched a range of gluten free favourites, including Menu Signatures Traditional Chips, Gourmet Chips and Sweet Potato Fries.

Reaching a wider audience 

It’s also worth remembering that people seeking allergen-free options will rarely be eating alone, so operators should aim to please both those requiring these dishes and the family and friends they’ll be dining with. Providing an option for great tasting allergen-free meals, will not only help to increase customer satisfaction but also position the operator as a destination for those following special diets, helping sway the family and friends that dine with them. Quick wins, such as gluten-free chips, can quickly and easily make some menu options gluten-free.

Health and safety 

When it comes to how allergens are displayed on menus, it is now more important than ever for operators to be transparent about any allergy risk ingredients, as well as providing thorough team training on what is included in every dish; knowledgeable staff will give customers the confidence that what they are eating is safe. Obtaining customer allergies before they arrive can also help staff make informed recommendations and highlights an operator’s willingness to help those with special diets.

Including allergen-free items on a menu can be a real unique selling point and, if promoted correctly, can drive significant footfall for operators. Ultimately, ensuring potential customers are aware of the offering is pivotal; promoting this information on websites and across social media has the power to sway those looking for a restaurant that caterers to their needs.