Food-allergic consumers rely more on small brands, study finds

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According to new research by MCLEAN, VA Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), one in four Americans do not buy the top nine food allergy products, including milk, poultry, wheat, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, soy and sesame. is. .

While 32 million consumers are currently living with food allergies, the effect of the halo increases the number to nearly three times that number, with more than 85 million Americans affected by the disease. They spend more than $ 19 billion annually on specialty foods to avoid consumer allergic reactions or other health consequences, paying 5% more per month than the average consumer.

FAREA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Gable said, “Our research confirms that the food allergy community is widespread – beyond a single individual to entire homes, and they pose unique and costly challenges to protect the health and safety of their families.” Let’s face it. ” . “It can be expensive for all 85 million Americans, but avoidance of allergen can be prohibitive and crippling, especially for low-income families with food allergies.”

The findings are part of the Fair’s Food Allergy Consumer Journey Study, a series of research projects on food allergy consumers and their shopping habits. The initiative included McKinsey & Company, Global Strategy Group (GSG) and The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Ann & Robert H.W. The partnership with Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago consists of three studies.

Fare McKinsey and Co. Worked together to characterize the food allergy market and its economic effects and provide recommendations for improving food allergen labeling practices. The partnership with GSG focused on measuring the impact of food allergies on socioeconomically disadvantaged families, while the partnership with Northwestern University assessed consumer preferences regarding the precautionary allergen labeling used on packaged foods.

Fare said that of all three projects, the main route needs a universal label.

The US Food and Drug Administration currently requires disclosure of the top eight food allergies, and Fair is currently advocating that mole be added as the ninth. New research suggests that a product is required for a universal phrase or image that can involuntarily contain an allergen.

More than half of America’s food allergy consumers indicated that current labels are problematic and interfere with their daily lives, and 71% said they spend 3 to 5 minutes on the average reading label of every food item they buy. Huh.

The study found that food allergy consumers represent $ 19 billion in unaffected potential sales.

The top nine allergen alternatives have grown by 27% over the past four years, with the increase being driven primarily by smaller allergy-friendly brands. Food allergy consumers tend to rely on smaller and allergen-friendly brands (68%) than larger brands (45%), and 60% said they repeatedly buy the same foods to save time.

According to Fare, big brands may have the opportunity to benefit from this uncapped market opportunity.

“Currently, precautionary labeling is voluntary and inconsistent, which is misleading for consumers and stressful for people with food allergies, who rely on information about their food, especially allergies,” Ruchi Gupta, MD , Medical advisor for public health and education at the Fair and at Northwestern University of Chicago Feinberg School of Medicine and Ann & Robert H. Professor of Pediatrics at Lurie Children’s Hospital. “Taking time to fully understand the food allergy consumer has shown us that there is a simple and cost-effective solution: if companies create a standardized labeling structure for the top nine allergens, people with food allergies are more secure than confident. Will be able to choose food options for their families. “


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Author: Usama Younus

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