It’s estimated that over half a million people in the UK have un-diagnosed coeliac disease.

The national charity, Coeliac UK,  are urging people to check their symptoms with by urging people to check their symptoms and ask “Is it coeliac disease?” during Awareness Week which runs from 9-15th May.

In support of the campaign, Food and Beverage Director, Marc Frankl, gives us his thoughts on a gluten-free diets and how Amadeus have incorporated allergen legislation into the business.

Aside from lifestyle choice there has been a rise in people discovering they have intolerance's to gluten or diagnosed as coeliac disease, why do you think this is? 

I think the biggest reason is awareness. What we are finding is people that have felt ill or been unwell but didn’t understand why can now see that gluten, and particularly wheat, could be a contributing factor.

People are more open to trying different ways of eating to see what suits them and their diets. With this rise in awareness comes the demand for more gluten-free products.  Aside from intolerances and coeliac disease, you find that people are making lifestyle choices to avoid processed food or too much refined sugar for example.  

A recent report by Mintel showed that the UK free-from market is currently valued at £365million and is forecast to grow by a whopping 50% in years’ time. Then the gluten-free* market is worth an estimated £210million. You can’t argue with those figures and it’s clear that people are beginning to opt for a cleaner diet where possible.

How do you think the industry has changed with dietary requirements? 

With the allergen legislation that came into force last year we went through a long and thorough process of identifying what is in our products, and now we can say with complete confidence we know what is in all our dishes.

As a caterer we can tell our customer what they will be eating, which is obviously great for people with dietary requirements as it helps make their day a little easier. Prior to the legislation there may have been an attitude across the industry that allergens weren’t that important, but with the details that are now readily available we have a much better understanding of the reasoning and importance of knowing exactly what we are serving.

As a caterer we need to be flexible enough to offer different menu options for people who want that choice at any of our venues and we now have at the forefront of our minds the difference allergens when we are sourcing our products. 

What is Amadeus’ process for allergens?

We have overhauled our systems and now we can hit a couple of buttons and we know exactly what is in a product. If we want to change or adapt recipes we can do that too, which is how we create these really nice bespoke lunches for guests with dietary requirements and are completely confident that we are giving them the right food.

This system is in place for all the venues we operate in. We work very closely with our suppliers too and nothing will go on our systems unless we can guarantee we know what we are serving. 

*Gluten-free - foods containing 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten or less