RESEARCH SHOWS CRITICAL NEED FOR BETTER GLUTEN FREE TRAINING FOR HOSPITALITY FOOD SERVICE STAFF
As Coeliac Awareness Week (13-20 March 2020) launches in Australia, new research released this week shows ‘gluten free’ continues to top the list as the most requested dietary requirement1, yet gluten free training is not considered a top priority by many food service operators.
The survey showed gluten free requests are five times greater than nut/peanut free meals and seven times more requested than dairy and lactose free meals combined.
The findings also reveal that while the hospitality industry is providing more choice for consumers requesting gluten free meals, gluten is not being treated with the seriousness it should as one of Australia’s declarable allergens. Of those surveyed, one third of hospitality staff (36 per cent) claim they have never been offered any form of gluten free training, despite their workplace serving gluten
Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Brand Nutritionist at Nestlé Professional, Ms Karen Kingham, urged the hospitality industry to review its approach.
“Best practices are often being forgotten, overlooked or just not considered. For many, the avoidance of gluten is a medical necessity rather than a lifestyle choice, so we need to make it as easy as possible for hospitality to improve the reliability of their gluten free menus so customers can trust what they order,” Ms Kingham said.
“With an estimated 3.1 million Australians (1 in 12) choosing gluten free2, hospitality needs to adapt to meet the demand. It’s more important than ever that businesses provide appropriate training all the way through the food service operation, including both front and back of house,” she said.
In support of Coeliac Awareness Week 2020, Nestlé Professional has released the second edition of its gluten free management resource, Your Practical Guide to Gluten Free in Food Service. The Guide aims to remove key barriers to providing gluten free foods via case-study scenarios and streamlined step-by-step solutions and is based on Coeliac Australia’s Gluten Free Standard for Food Service.
With 54 per cent of hospitality staff identifying cross contamination as the biggest challenge when providing gluten free menus, Cathy Di Bella, Partnerships and Sponsorship Manager at Coeliac Australia, said she isn’t surprised.
“We need to address the lack of trust gluten free diners have in food service providers’ ability to serve genuine gluten free meals,” Ms Di Bella said.
“It’s about ensuring diners with gluten free dietary needs can eat out without falling ill. We also know the odds of having one gluten free person amongst a group of diners is on the rise, so if you can’t accommodate that one gluten free guest, you’re actually missing out on the opportunity to cater for the whole group,” she said.
The updated guide is a complementary addition to Nestlé Professional’s portfolio of gluten free food products which, when combined, help simplify menu planning and kitchen workload and allow businesses to deliver attractive gluten free menus.
Mark Clayton, Executive Chef for Nestlé Professional, said providing genuine gluten free foods in a food service setting can be challenging for kitchen staff.
“Because of this challenge, we want to ensure hospitality has the tools, training and quality products it needs to confidently provide great tasting gluten free meals their customers can trust and enjoy, and not miss out on valuable business,” Mr Clayton said.
- 90 per cent of food service staff would like more training in gluten free1
- Almost 20 per cent of food service staff weren’t aware soy sauce contains gluten, while 17 per cent thought the naturally gluten free food quinoa contained gluten1
- Only 10 per cent of those with gluten free dietary needs trust a gluten free claim, and 63 per cent find it difficult to eat out
- The second edition of Your Practical Guide to Gluten Free in Food Service is available now.
Download it free at: www.nestleprofessional.com.au/nutrition/gluten-free-info