Health & wellness

It’s time to tolerate intolerances

Friday, December 2, 2016

Sales of free-from foods are now thought to be worth as much as £531 million – up 13% year on year1. From the Ritz and Claridge’s at one end of the market to Domino’s Pizza and Costa Coffee at the other, operators are waking up to the fact that gluten-free is big business.

It’s time to tolerate intolerances

It’s not surprising. At least one in every 100 people in the UK suffer from coeliac disease, although only around a quarter of these are diagnosed2 and below the surface, there’s a much larger group of people who have a sensitivity to gluten or who simply choose to follow a gluten-free diet for ‘health’ reasons.

The long and the short of it is that it makes good business sense to cater to this group.

In fact, it’s estimated that the hospitality industry is currently missing out on an around £100 million a year on the gluten-free market alone3. If that’s not a wake-up call, we don’t know what is…

So, how do you get it right?

  • Avoid all wheat, rye, barley, and oat products (such as wheat flour or bran) and all derivatives such as bulgur, couscous, semolina and spelt
  • Read the food label very carefully, because wheat products can be hidden in many processed foods such as the following:

o    Seafood and poultry such as fish fingers, or fried chicken

o    Breaded or floured meats, meats containing filler such as meatloaf, sausages, luncheon meats and hot dogs

o    Marinades, salad dressings and sauces, such as soy, Worcestershire, mustard and prepared ketchup

o    Soups such as cream soup or soups with noodles

o    Milk and dairy products like cottage cheese and yoghurt

  • Consider replacing wheat flour with corn flour, rice flour, potato flour or starch (but remember, always check the label!)
  • Don’t underestimate the role that pre-prepared ingredients can play in helping you cater to this market. There’s truth in the old adage, start with the basics, and what better place to start than with your stocks, gravies and sauces?

At Nestle Professional, we have a number of products that can help you develop gluten free menus. From our MAGGI® Gluten Free Vegetarian Gravy to MAGGI® Rich & Rustic Tomato Sauce and MAGGI® Coconut Milk Powder. But be aware that you still need to make sure you’re preparing these dishes in a gluten-free environment to avoid cross-contamination, no matter how mild.

Bearing in mind that the UK’s gluten-free market is predicted to reach £673 million by 20204. Can you afford not to have a slice of the gluten-free pie?

  1. Free-from Foods UK 2016 report, Mintel
  4. Free-from Foods UK 2016 report, Mintel