More chain restaurants are catering to customers with food allergies. An estimated three million people in the US suffer from celiac disease, which is approximately 1 in 133 people, but haven’t officially been diagnosed.
Dish Society’s Trent Patterson said with more and more people who go out to eat, requesting eateries to have gluten-free, lactose-free or nut-free options, it’s now too big to ignore.
“It’s definitely not a fad. I think that it’s only going to continue to get more prevalent. Obviously, there’s something that is broken in our food supply system and we’re starting to see the repercussions of that,” said Patterson. “In any restaurant environment, there is a limited ability for us to really have an isolated prep area. We can do everything we can from having different colored knives, different colored cutting boards. We have our cooks change gloves, change pots and pans.”
A survey by the global market research firm Mintel found that lactose was the American consumers' third-most avoided ingredient after high-fructose corn syrup and genetically-modified organisms. Gluten and wheat were No. 7.