Nearly half of British consumers are more likely to choose a restaurant which offers gluten-free dishes, as well as opt for a gluten-free dish, new research has shown.
Despite the introduction of more gluten-free dishes on menus in recent years, demand is still outstripping supply, with the survey – conducted by foodservice supplier Aviko – revealing that 62% of consumers believe that operators still don’t do enough to cater for gluten intolerances out-of-home.
As part of Aviko’s Gluten-Free Heroes campaign, it is encouraging chefs, caterers and operators to look at ways their menus can be updated to meet demand, and to widen their appeal with consumers.
The findings of the survey have been revealed in Coeliac Awareness Week, which runs until 14 May.
Mohammed Essa, Aviko general manager, explains: “Coeliac disease is a serious condition, and sufferers should be able to enjoy eating quality gluten-free dishes out-of-home, which is why we’re commending Coeliac UK for shining a light on menus. Our Gluten-Free Heroes campaign is about just this, supporting the industry in becoming coeliac-friendly, and inspiring caterers with recipes, top tips, facts, hints and product information to boost menus.
“This year we have even more recipes, and on our website, our Top Tips for Gluten-Free Out-Of-Home is available now, and we’ll be donating £5 to Coeliac UK for every download in support of this important week.”
Operators who do give their menus a gluten-free makeover could reap the benefits from the wider market as well, Essa adds. “With the consumer research revealing that nearly 60% of people choose to eat gluten-free for its perceived health benefits and lifestyle reasons, updating popular potato sides such as chips – which aren’t always gluten-free due to the coating – could pay dividends,” he says.
Aviko’s most popular products, including its Premium Fries range, are produced in a dedicated gluten-free factory. Essa says: “Worryingly, 57% of consumers don’t realise that not all chips are gluten-free because of the coating used. This could have serious implications for both an individual with coeliac disease, as well as the outlet that served them.”
To support operators in promoting their gluten-free offering this Coeliac Awareness Week and beyond, Aviko has created a range of free downloadable point-of-sale materials including posters and tent cards.