Approximately 4% of Americans have a food allergy, according to a new study from researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
While the most common food allergies are shellfish such as lobster, other common food allergies include fruits, vegetables, dairy, and peanuts. “Recent reports suggest that food allergies are on the rise, with more food allergy-related hospitalizations in the U.S. over the last decade,” says lead researcher Dr. Li Zhou.
Retailers are working to keep customers safe when consuming food from their establishments. Ingredients such as nuts, wheat, fruits, and vegetables can be difficult to identify in certain products, so it is up to the retailer to properly notify customers that certain foods may contain ingredients they could be allergic to and should avoid.
Certain bakeries cater specifically to this segment of consumers, by ensuring their kitchens are allergen-free, getting certification that they are free of gluten, wheat, peanuts, and tree nuts. For most bakeries, however, this isn’t an option. Nona’s Sweets Bakery Café in Charlotte, North Carolina issues a special disclaimer stating that it is not an allergy free bakery and thus cannot guarantee that its products are free from any ingredients that may affect certain food allergies.
Not only do these practices help consumers facing allergic reactions, they also increase their loyalty to retailers who they perceive are looking out for their well-being.