News

Food allergies affect 1 in 4 consumers, according to FARE

3 Jul 2020

New research from FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) found that 85 million Americans, or 1 in 4 people, avoid purchasing products with the top 9 allergens due to either personal allergies or allergies suffers that live in the same household.

The price tag associated with avoiding products that can have health consequences and subsequently relying on specialty, allergen-free items rings up at $19 billion annually. The top 9 allergens in the United States are milk, wheat, sesame, tree nuts, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, and sesame.

Food allergies affect 1 in 4 consumers, according to FARE

"For all 85 million Americans this can be expensive, but especially for lower-income families with food allergies, allergen avoidance can be prohibitive and crippling," said Lisa Gable, chief executive officer of FARE. Research from the allergy firm noted that those with food allergies pay 5% more per month than the average consumer.

While this additional expense can be a burden for some households, it also represents an opportunity for major manufacturers looking to capture more consumers by offering cost-friendly allergy-free solutions. According to FARE’s research, 53% of Americans find the current allergy labeling problematic and interfere with their daily lives; 71% spend three to five minutes reading each label for items they purchase.

Already, many companies have begun to sell allergy-free foods, albeit inadvertently in some cases. The free-from movement that was spurred by consumer interest in dairy-free and gluten-free products has continued to drive innovation for Big Food. Its rapid growth has also served to bring these allergy-foods into the mainstream. The free-from food market is anticipated to grow 4.84% through 2023, according to Mordor Intelligence.

Still, there remains the risk of cross-contamination in processing facilities, something that can pose an issue even for products labeled as allergy-free. To help families that are struggling to find foods that are safe to eat, FARE is proposing a universal label that indicates the presence, even unintentionally, of an allergen.

FARE reported that 32 million Americans are currently living with a potentially life-threatening food allergy. This is up from its 2013 estimate of 15 million people in the U.S. living with a food allergy which indicates that the prevalence of allergies is on the rise. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed this data with a report that noted the prevalence of food allergies in children jumped 50% between 1997 and 2011. FARE reported that the number of food allergy consumers has grown a total of 4% over the past 20 years. Manufacturers that cater to these consumers are sure to win not only sales but brand loyalty.

Related news

EU to ban generic sustainability claims like ‘natural’ and ‘carbon neutral’

EU to ban generic sustainability claims like ‘natural’ and ‘carbon neutral’

21 Sep 2023

The European Union will clamp down on greenwashing with provisional rules that will prohibit generic sustainability claims, such as “environmentally friendly”, “natural”, “biodegradable”, and those related to emissions offsetting schemes like “carbon n...

Read more 
Nutri-Score will be implemented in the Netherlands in 2024

Nutri-Score will be implemented in the Netherlands in 2024

20 Sep 2023

Nutri-Score will be adopted as the official – but voluntary – food choice logo in the Netherlands from 1 January 2024, the Dutch government confirms. How will this impact the industry?

Read more 
Halal halo: Taste, authenticity, and convenience widen Halal food’s appeal

Halal halo: Taste, authenticity, and convenience widen Halal food’s appeal

14 Sep 2023

As Halal food continues to enjoy healthy retail sales, the rise of street food, ‘Grab & Go,’ and snackification is set to satisfy an evolving demographic’s desire for new flavours and food experiences.

Read more 
Industry first: Mosa Meat becomes first cultivated meat startup to gain B Corp certification

Industry first: Mosa Meat becomes first cultivated meat startup to gain B Corp certification

11 Sep 2023

A first for the industry, Dutch cultivated meat company Mosa Meat announced that it has received B Corp certification and will soon apply for regulatory approval across the globe.

Read more 
Lack of legal definition for vegan food could be dangerous, group warns

Lack of legal definition for vegan food could be dangerous, group warns

3 Aug 2023

With little oversight and enforcement from government agencies, “vegan” food products are being mislabelled and posing a risk to people with allergies, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has warned.

Read more 
Coffee industry condemns Fair Trade USA’s price freeze

Coffee industry condemns Fair Trade USA’s price freeze

24 Jul 2023

More than 600 coffee producers are speaking out against Fair Trade USA’s refusal to align with the new international minimum price for coffee set by Fairtrade International earlier this year.

Read more 
Rainforest Alliance praises Nescafé for regenerative agriculture efforts

Rainforest Alliance praises Nescafé for regenerative agriculture efforts

27 Jun 2023

Instant coffee brand Nescafé is supporting coffee farmers to adopt regenerative agricultural practices, according to a recent supply chain assessment by Rainforest Alliance that highlighted “encouraging trends”.

Read more 
Sustainability commitments lead more LatAm brands to B Corp

Sustainability commitments lead more LatAm brands to B Corp

19 Jun 2023

A growing number of Latin American brands are becoming B Corp certified as they seek to address consumers’ sustainability concerns, from Colombia’s Luker Chocolate to Brazil’s Naveia and B.You Açaí.

Read more 
Tea brands accused of human rights abuses

Tea brands accused of human rights abuses

9 Jun 2023

Multinational companies with tea brands, like Unilever, Starbucks and Tetley, have been linked to dozens of counts of human rights abuse in their supply chains from last year alone, according to a recent report from the Business and Human Rights Resour...

Read more 
New Zealand mānuka honey producers lose battle to trademark product

New Zealand mānuka honey producers lose battle to trademark product

7 Jun 2023

New Zealand’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has ruled that mānuka honey cannot be trademarked, which means that neighbouring Australian producers can use the valuable name.

Read more