Limited gluten-free options in foodservice

By Becka Crowe

Gluten. What do you know about it? How many of your customers enquire daily about gluten-free options? Is your kitchen set up to accommodate it?  ‘Gluten-free’ has become a trendy term in the food industry associated with healthy eating. However, for many individuals it’s not followed to be up on the latest fad. For those suffering from celiac disease and gluten sensitives, it’s no joke.

Eating out can be one of the most stressful experiences for anyone who avoids gluten. Imagine going out to eat on a Saturday evening with friends you haven’t seen in years. Once seated and given the menu, you franticly scan it to find items that appear to be gluten-free from the descriptions, or if you’re lucky there will be “GF” symbols beside the names. You then come to realize all you can have is the salad. Now you’re faced with two options – don’t make a big deal about it and just get the salad; or ask your friends to leave and find somewhere else that fits your needs.

Gluten-free individuals don’t want to make a big deal when eating out, but this is an all-too-real situation. As much as many chefs and restaurant owners have begun incorporating some gluten-free options into their menus, an astonishing number still aren’t, or at least not properly.

Beyond menu offerings, how food is handled at the back of house is just as crucial. Cross-contamination is a serious concern for those with celiac disease. Something as simple as using the same knife to cut both a gluten and gluten-free sandwich can flare up severe health complications. One contaminated meal can ruin someone’s entire vacation for many days after.

Gluten-free individuals appreciate when they can be easily accommodated with unique menu options. Make your kitchen gluten-free friendly to gain customers (and good reviews) for life!

About the author:

Becka Crowe is a Food Service Development Specialist at Danone. In her spare time she runs her blog, Going Grainless. She has been gluten-free for six years after discovering gluten was causing her several health complications. Becka has a passion for all things health and gluten-free.