The estimation of around 20% of the world’s population is suffering from an allergy or intolerance to certain food. There are many ways a person can avoid foods and ingredients in their daily life and with restaurants and shops now being forced to label clearly the ingredients, it is definitely less of a worry for anyone.
But how do you cater for intolerances and allergies in a home setting?
Many hosts worry about allergies, intolerances and food hygiene safety while hosting dinners and suppers in their homes.
While we may not have all the answers, here is what you need to know when cooking and catering for those who might be suffering from an allergy or having an intolerance.
The difference between a food intolerance and food allergy is simply the immune system. According to BDA, the Association of UK Dietitians, there can be ‘unpleasant and sometimes dangerous physical reactions called food hypersensitivity’. Food allergies, therefore, are reactions from your immune system to harmless proteins, which result in the release of substances such as histamines, resulting in an allergic reaction.
Allergy to nuts is the most common allergy in the world. It is easy enough to cater for this one but should you wish to cook with any types of nuts, always make sure to tell everyone about it. The allergic reaction to nuts could be fatal in some cases.
Two of the more known intolerances are lactose and gluten, both of which are found in everyday foods such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, bread, crisps and biscuits. Some of the lesser-known, but just as common are caffeine (found in coffee, tea, energy drinks), salicylates (can be found in a wide range of foods from fruits and vegetables to nuts and honey), amines (fermented foods and beverages, vinegar, avocados, citrus). FODMAPs (such as apples, honey, beans and lentils, and beer), sulfites (dried fruit, wine, apple cider, baked goods, tea) and fructose (honey, apples, apple juice and cider, certain fruits and vegetables such as watermelon and pears and sugar snap peas).
Someone suffering from an allergy should make every host aware of their allergy or intolerance in advance. While most hosts will be willing to accommodate, some hosts have special menus and dishes and simply cannot cater for allergies and intolerances. So its perfectly OK to refuse a booking.
If you are willing to cater, what you might consider is offering an alternative and if you wish to charge a little premium for this, you should definitely mention it to the guest.
We recommend having a vegetarian/gluten-free-dairy-free options to make your hosting and catering a success. The more accommodating you are, the more customers can come to you.
Not everyone is skilled and knows how to cater to those. Consider reading up on the topic or ask an expert.
Hope this helps!
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