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Produce Pulse: Free The Label

Produce Pulse: Free The Label

Perception is everything in the precious seconds a purchase decision is made.

Too often, the first question I hear when sharing that I have a gluten allergy is whether or not I can have potatoes. 

While many may lament allergen-free labeling on products we industry insiders think are obviously free-from, we are battling a war of perception. This is not a scrimmage where playing close to the vest or strategizing by assumption will win. Clarity is key. And the fact is I—and those kindred spirits made extra cautious by a food intolerance, sensitivity, or choice—read every label before making a purchase. 

I have been pleasantly surprised—ecstatic, actually—to find that something I thought absolutely off-limits was, in fact, gluten-free. Especially when the company is clever enough to make the label clear out of an understanding that it might get passed by for seeming to be clearly out of reach. 

This may entail more specifics on any packaging available, but it is also a ticket to a loyal demographic that traditionally pays a premium to access more food that allows them to feel less constricted in their eating options.

Eight foods cause the most food allergy reactions: milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish*. While none of these are fresh produce items, I refer back to the perception of family and friends that potatoes might contain gluten. 

In fact, perception has food allergy numbers up higher than they should be.

About 32 million people have food allergies in the U.S.*; one in every two Canadian households are directly or indirectly impacted by a food allergy**; and in a 2016 survey of about 30,000 subjects, 23 percent of respondents from Mexico reportedly suffered from a food allergy or intolerance***.

These numbers are plenty reason to reevaluate packaging, menu, and signage strategies, but factor in how many self-diagnose, often falsely, that they too are in this demographic****, and the numbers are even higher. If they are shopping with an allergy in mind, you want to be easily spotted on the sensitive side of the field.

In this fight, let assumption be the enemy and words your weapon.The Snack Endstop


Sources:

*https://www.aafa.org/allergy-facts/

**https://foodallergycanada.ca/our-impact-advocacy-and-services/about-us/w...

***https://www.statista.com/statistics/857937/consumers-food-allergy-type-m...

****https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324094#19-percent-of-adults-be...