Earlier in the year, we discussed how the recent calls for better allergen labelling have impacted food operators. A number of cases were documented in the media late last year including the tragic case of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who suffered a fatal allergic reaction after eating a Pret A Manger sandwich.
With some of the big chain restaurants and coffee shops named as contributors to the issue, the government launched a nine-week consultation that sought views around four options regarding new allergen rules on food prepared for direct sale and the promotion of the best practice of the full labelling of products.
In June 2019, Michael Gove announced that a new law ‘Natasha’s Law’ will require food businesses to include full ingredients labelling on pre-packaged foods. The government will introduce legislation by the end of summer mandating full ingredients labelling for foods prepacked for direct sale, and the new laws will come into force by summer 2021 – giving businesses time to adapt to the change.
What can operators do to be more transparent?
As more and more consumers order food online, using a digital ordering platform like Preoday makes food labelling on menus particularly simple for restaurants for their mobile or online menus. For example, on Preoday’s platform, you can use labels functions to create as many allergen types as you wish to associate with particular dishes. If you want customers to be made extra clear, then there are allergen tags that can be implemented and will generate a pop up to notify customers when they make an order in case they miss any small print.
Having the capability to digitally label menu items not only creates greater transparency with customers and helps them avoid potentially dangerous ingredients, but also allows operators to respond to customer lifestyle choice trends such as veganism making choosing where to dine easier for guests. For an ever-increasing number of consumers, the important part of what they’re eating is what is not in the food and the time has come for operators to do the right thing.
This consultation and potential new regulation should, therefore, be seen as an opportunity for operators to up their game and put consumers in control of their food choices like never before.