80% of survey respondents with food allergies are allergic to two or more foods

In April I wrote a blog post sharing a key finding from a survey I was involved in: 76% of food allergic survey respondents say they won’t visit your restaurant if you don’t have information online. Here is another fun fact for you: Over 80% of the respondents said they are allergic to two or more foods.

Specifically, of 1,000 consumers with food allergies:
• 16% say they are allergic to one food,
• 16% say they are allergic to two foods, and
• 68% say they are allergic to three or more foods.

Wow. I was intrigued by this data because this is a question I have never been able to find an answer to. While I am not confident this statistic is representative of the general population, it’s likely a fair number of people with allergies are allergic to multiple foods. Thinking about the people in my personal life with food allergies, 50% have one food allergy while the other half have more than one.

This may explain why only 10% of people in the survey preferred individual menus for each allergen (such as “menu items without egg” or “menu items without nuts”). Having to toggle between multiple menus to find something safe to eat provides a less than an ideal experience for the consumer.

If you are in the restaurant business, you are in the experience business. Is your approach to allergen disclosure providing a good experience for your guests with food allergies? 

Start by evaluating the information you provide. Pretend you are allergic to two or three foods and want to dine at your restaurant. Did you find information easily?   Was it easy to understand?  How long did it take you to find options that are safe to eat?  How many options were there?

As shared in my last blog about food allergies, millions of Americans have food allergies and millions more have food intolerances. Given 75% of survey respondents say they take at least 3 people with them when they go out to eat, it will pay to ensure you can meet the needs of this customer base.

Want the rest of the survey results? Just shoot me a note to cheryl@cldnutrition.com and I’ll send them your way.

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