Bakery solution provider Délifrance has released its latest insight report aimed at helping operators navigate the challenges of allergen legislation with more than two million UK consumers reporting a diagnosed food allergy.
Délifrance commissioned a UK-wide survey speaking to consumers who either have a food allergy, or have a child with one.
The findings revealed that three quarters of consumers with food allergies enjoyed bread, 74% indulged in sweet treats like brownies or cakes, and 70% ate pastries like croissants and pain au chocolat. Another 66% liked savoury treats such as cheese twists. However, many felt their needs were not being met by food providers, and more than half (52%) won't buy anything or will go elsewhere if they couldn't find the bakery product they want.
The top five places for FHS consumers to buy baked goods were supermarkets, bakeries, coffee shops and cafes, and restaurants. The findings highlighted key areas for each of these outlets to address, along with insight and advice from Délifrance and report partners, Food Allergy Aware.
Stéphanie Brillouet, marketing director at Délifrance, said: "It's clear these consumers love their baked goods, representing a big opportunity for food operators. They just need to be reassured that their products are produced and kept separate from those containing allergens. Unsurprisingly, they don't want to compromise on taste and choice either.
"We realise this represents a big challenge for some food operators, but we're convinced that it's good business as well as being vital for public health and wellbeing. We've shared some of our processes and approaches in the report, in the hope that they'll inspire food operators to adapt, giving them the chance to attract rather than alienate what can often be a highly loyal group of consumers."
Jacqui McPeake, consultant for Food Allergy Aware, added: "There's a huge community of people with allergies on social media and they all talk to each other. If an FHS consumer trusts a food operator and enjoys the food, they'll become a regular customer, tell their friends and share their experiences on social media using hashtags like #allergyapplause.
"It's worth remembering that FHS consumers are vocal on social media if they have a bad experience too. And with allergies on the rise, this could affect businesses negatively in the long-run."
The report can be downloaded here.