An estimated 2-4% of adults and 6% of children are now suffering from some type of food allergy.

As chefs, allergies and intolerances provide a unique challenge and opportunity to create suitable and alternate versions of your dishes to cater to diners with food allergies and intolerances.

Food allergy vs. food intolerance

Allergies occur when the body's immune system mistakes a food protein for an allergen and attacks it. Allergic reactions to foods vary in severity and some can be potentially fatal. Some common symptoms of allergic reactions may include:

  • Stomach upsets
  • Rashes
  • Eczema
  • Itching of the skin or mouth
  • Swelling of tissues (e.g. the lips or throat)
  • Difficulty in breathing

On the other hand, food intolerance is simply the body’s inability to digest a particular food, which is why it's important to be aware of common types of food intolerance like lactose intolerance. Common symptoms of food intolerance may include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhoea

Did you know?

Many people think the terms food allergy and food intolerance mean the same thing. Food intolerance (e.g. lactose intolerance), unlike a food allergy, does not involve allergens or the immune system and is not life-threatening.