Beyond the Menu: Ingredifind - The Company Behind The UK’s Food Allergen Restaurant Revolution
It’s time for UK restaurants to do more than just tolerate people with food allergies.
Despite the ongoing cost of living crisis, the UK restaurant industry is predicted to grow by 4.6% this year in comparison to 2019 and reach a total value of £95.2bn.
It is no secret that the hospitality industry has faced its own maelstrom of challenges over the recent years. From navigating the volatile economic climate following COVID-19 to dealing with ongoing staffing shortages and ever-shrinking profit margins, restaurant owners have had to adapt to unparalleled change like never before.
And whilst we’re seeing positive change in the UK’s hospitality industry, it’s clear that more needs to be done in order to bolster profit margins and attract and retain new customers. One often overlooked customer pool is those with food allergens.
A hidden problem with a big impact
According to the Food Standards Agency, in the UK it’s thought that two million people have a diagnosed food allergy and roughly 600,000 are living with Coeliac Disease. Almost one third of the UK population (or 20 million people),lives with an allergy, . and some are so severe, they’re responsible for anaphylaxis and in extreme cases, death.
The reality is that food allergens and diet restrictions has a wider social economic impact and a ripple effect when it comes to restaurant choice.
Consider a scenario where a group of four individuals eat out together. Now, if just one person in that group has a food allergy, their dietary restrictions will inevitably dictate the choice of restaurant for the entire group. Consequently, the pool of potential dining venues is significantly limited. The group will avoid any restaurants they’re unsure about, in order to accommodate the needs of the person with the allergy! This begs the question - even though only 25% of the group of four indivdiuals has a food allergy, what percentage of the market are restaurants turning away every day if they don’t cater to people with allergies and/or diets?
An opportunity or a threat?
When restaurant owners and employees have a level of uncertainty surrounding food allergens, potential cross contamination risks remain ambiguous. Pair this with the news reports of people dying due to allergic reactions at big brand chains, it’s unsurprising to see venues who are unsure of the allergens in their dishes, turning customers with food allergies away, therefore perpetuating a cycle of exclusion and limited dining options for those with allergies.
But when restaurants tackle this allergen problem head on, and clearly demonstrate the allergens used in every single dish at ingredient level, the cycle of exclusion is broken, and they can cater to a wider customer base.
Ingredifind - the missing ingredient
This is where Ingredifind comes in. Founded in 2021, Ingredifind makes eating out easier for people with food allergies, diets, and personal preferences, by simplifying the complex world of allergens for both restaurants and consumers.
Ingredifind is the brainchild of Mark White and his partner Hanna Ogburn, who has experienced the minefield of food allergies her whole life. Their allergen management system gives restaurant owners and head chefs the ability to keep track of the allergens in every single dish as ingredients change, along with calorie management in line with FSA.
All restaurant owners and chefs have to do is update their menus in Ingredifind’s clean, intuitive and easy to use back-end software, and the software determines the allergens based on the ingredients added. This eradicates the need for guess work from staff members, and ensures the right allergen information is readily available for every single dish.
Once this is set up, customers access next-generation filerable menus through QR codes, simplifying all the complexities of dining out and puts people with allergens at ease.
When restaurants tap into those with food allergens, they’re tapping into a niche yet impactful customer base. By addressing the allergen issue proactively, restaurants can not only ensure the safety and satisfaction of this segment but also expand their reach and profitability.
Afterall, how restaurant staff respond to or treat customers with food allergies can quite literally make or break their experience. And if individuals with food allergies or dietary restrictions know a venue is staying one step ahead of food regulations taking their allergens seriously and they have transparency on exactly what ingredients are in each dish, they’ll come back.
To find out more about Ingredifind, visit their website: https://ingredifind.com/