A leading foodservice provider has launched a new guide to gluten-free food and expanded its gluten-free range to help bars, pubs and restaurants to tap into this market.
Bidvest 3663 now offers more than 330 gluten-free products after appointing a gluten-free strategy team across its buying, marketing, new product and food development and quality assurance departments.
Food allergies and intolerances affect nearly a third of UK households, with 22% of the population believing that they suffer from one, according to the Food and Drink Innovation Network.
Coeliac disease, an autoimmune disease caused by intolerance to gluten, affects 10% of households. A further 8% of the population avoids gluten “as a lifestyle choice”, according to Mintel.
According to Coeliac UK, the catering industry is missing out on an estimated £100million a year by not adequately catering for people with coeliac disease.
The team at Bidvest 3663 has collaborated with specialist suppliers and Coeliac UK, the UK’s expert body on coeliac disease, to compile the 56-page “Gluten-Free Made Simple” guide.
Available as a digital download from the Bidvest 3663 website, the guide features recipes developed by the company’s dedicated gluten-free chef. It also contains information and advice about coeliac disease and insights about the UK’s gluten-free market to help operators and staff.
The guide also showcases Bidvest 3663’s gluten-free products, including the 44 latest additions including pizza bases, pre-wrapped chocolate brownies, Genius sliced bread, Schӓr spaghetti, Almondy Toblerone Tarte and D & Co ham and cheese panini.
There are also products available as part of Bidvest 3663’s own-brand range including 3663 Spicy Pulled Beef, which can help chefs tap into the street food trend, and the 3663 Trio Berry Amore Cake, a berry fruit-flavoured dessert (pictured).
Catherine Hinchcliff, head of customer marketing at Bidvest 3663, said: “Although consumers with coeliac disease and those who avoid gluten as a lifestyle choice can choose from a wide range of gluten-free goods in supermarkets, many still feel overlooked when eating out of home.
“Furthermore, research performed by Schӓr found that almost half of consumers living with coeliac disease have given up eating out, after being unable to find places that can cater for their needs. Therefore catering for this customer group can pay dividends for operators.
“Our focus has been to make it easy for chefs to develop a variety of on-trend, appetising and safe gluten-free dishes and help them to make the most of this menu opportunity.”
YouGov Research indicates that 45% of consumers with a food allergy or intolerance are unaware of restaurants that cater for their specific requirements and they are cautious about eating out because of their condition.
Although there is no standardised way for operators to label their gluten-free dishes, many are choosing to write separate menus or use wording or a symbol to signpost gluten-free dishes to customers.
Catherine added: “The introduction of the Food Information Regulations means that caterers must be able to provide information about whether any of the 14 major allergens are present in any of the dishes that they are preparing and serving.
“Customers can be assured that all products in the ‘Gluten-Free Made Simple’ guide are gluten-free. We also updated the packaging on our own-brand products so that allergens are highlighted in bold and are easily recognisable. Our advice centre is also available for customers to ask questions on specific products.”