Allergies are very common within the UK, with 1 in 4 people being affected at some point in their lives. Some have very minor symptoms and suffer for years without treatment, for others, it can be a real health risk; every label must be read, ingredients checked and people around them notified.
Many recipes contain allergens, which make them unsafe to eat for those who suffer from allergies leaving their choices in food limited.
What are allergen-free ingredients?
Allergen-free or ‘allergen safe’ means that the food you are consuming or producing is free from detectable levels of allergens known for creating uncomfortable or health-related symptoms.
They are free from the top 14 EU-recognised allergens, which include: celery, gluten-based cereals (oats and barley), fish, crustaceans (crabs, prawns and lobsters), molluscs (oysters and mussels), eggs, lupin, milk, mustard, peanuts, sesame, soybeans, sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if they are at a concentration of more than 10 PPM – parts per million) and tree nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, brazil nuts, pistachios and macadamia nuts).
Allergen-free alternatives you can use in your products?
There are many ingredients that consumers don’t expect to contain allergens. From alcohols to herbs and spices, they really can appear in many forms.
How great would it be if your customers could enjoy their favourite dishes, without worry and without losing some of the most vital flavours?
If you are looking to make your range more inclusive, here are some alternative ingredients to think about…
Coconut Aminos instead of soy sauce
Soy sauce is found in many products including flavourings, meat substitutes, frozen meals, Asian foods, peanut butter, condiments plus many more.
It is produced using two of the top eight allergen ingredients; soybeans and wheat.
The distinctive sweet, salty umami taste of soy is created with a clever delicate balance of components, which can be closely replicated using coconut aminos.
Coconut aminos have over 70% less sodium than soy. It’s gluten-free, soy-free and utterly delicious; already winning over a selection of our customers.
It can be used in many recipes, whether it’s a simple salad dressing, within a sauce or to add flavour to ready meals and home recipes.
Coconut milk instead of cow’s milk
Coconut milk can be a delicious, creamy replacement for cow’s milk or cream. Possibly not within tea, but great for a flavoured coffee. Also fantastic in smoothies, ice creams, iced drinks, curries or puddings.
We have used coconut milk instead of dairy in our latest vegan chestnut cheesecake recipe, why not try it for yourself?
Note: In the US, coconuts are recognised as a tree nuts, therefore are considered an allergen. This is not the case for the European market.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is one of the most common allergens, causing many uncomfortable symptoms until treated.
It is a type of protein found in various grains including rye, wheat and barley and is most commonly used to make a product light and spongy in texture, including bread.
Many think going gluten-free is great for weight loss, however, this isn’t always the case. It is more beneficial when used as part of a long-term eating plan for consumers with gluten intolerance, sensitivity or coeliac disease.
What is the difference between coeliac disease and gluten intolerance?
Coeliac disease is an immune disorder which attacks the tissue of the small intestine over a long period. It leads to long long-term such osteoporosis, iron deficiency anaemia and vitamin B12 and folate deficiency anaemia.
Symptoms of coeliac disease include stomach ache, diarrhoea, indigestion, constipation and bloating.
Gluten intolerance is a fairly common issue throughout the UK and worldwide and is characterised by a reaction to gluten. It offers similar symptoms to coeliac disease, but without the long-term effects as it’s an allergy rather than an autoimmune disease.
A gluten-free diet is the best way to control the symptoms of both coeliac disease and gluten intolerance.
How do you know if something is gluten-free?
Gluten levels in food and drink are measured by PPM – parts per million.
Food that contains between 21 – 100 ppm is described as very low gluten, meaning they are OK for those who are intolerant. Food that is 20 ppm or less is gluten-free and safe for those with coeliac disease.
Many ingredients are naturally gluten-free, however, their production environment runs the risk of cross-contamination.
Our gluten-free ranges are produced and packed in a gluten-free environment, meaning you can cook and create with sound peace of mind.
Distilled alcohols such as vodka, bourbon, whiskey and scotch are great for making sauces, glazes, and sweet confections. They adapt texture, add flavour and offer real depth to a recipe.
We offer a great selection of branded and unbranded gluten-free distilled alcohols, ready for use.
As well as being produced in a contaminated environment, certain wines also use a gluten-fining process. The barrels they are stored in the can at times be sealed with a wheat paste, meaning some wines you are drinking contain gluten.
You may be surprised to know, wine isn’t always vegan-friendly either! Talk to the team about our vegan and gluten-friendly wines so you can add extra flavour to your recipe.
Traditional beers, lagers and ales use wheat as their basic grain, meaning many of them to contain gluten. Gluten-free beers are available as they are based on cereals such as rice, corn, buckwheat or millet.
Whether you want a Merlot for your chilli, a beer to add flavour to your pie or a splash of brandy for your sauce, we have gluten-free options to suit.
Gluten-free herbs and spices
In their natural state, herbs and spices are gluten-free. However, in some cases, they can be contaminated with wheat flour or starch to lower costs.
Our range of herbs and spices are wheat free, and safe to use within your upcoming taste sensation.
Seeds are fantastic for helping boost food processors’ capability to create snacks and baked goods that are rich in nutrients.
Our range of gluten-free seeds includes millet, pumpkin, linseed, chia, sunflower, buckwheat, nigella, sesame and caraway, plus many more.
Not only can they offer a new way to improve the health benefits of your product, but they also add fantastic texture and flavour.
Talk to us about allergen-free ingredients
There has been a huge shift in the food industry towards companies being aware of food intolerance and dietary requirements.
Customers are interested in what is going into their food and companies are adapting their production and ingredients to suit.
Variety is very important to our team at Brusco. We make sure our range includes allergen-free, vegan-friendly choices between ambient and frozen products.
Talk to the team today at +44 (0) 1386 761555 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss alternative ingredients to make your range more inclusive for customers with dietary requirements.