The restaurant industry is missing out on a potential £100m each year by failing to provide safe, gluten-free options for people with coeliac disease.
A survey conducted by national charity Coeliac UK found that 62 per cent of people living with the disease ate out just once a month or less, over fears about finding safe gluten-free options.
But when asked how often they would eat out if there were more options available, 74 per cent said they would eat out once a fortnight or more.
Sarah Sleet, chief executive of Coeliac UK, said that catering businesses could harness ‘obvious potential financial benefits’ by expanding their range of gluten-free menu items.
“In these difficult times, when over 40 pubs and restaurants nationally are closing per week, this is a huge market that the hospitality sector cannot afford to miss. People with coeliac disease want to eat out more often and are ready and willing to spend their money, if only they felt more confident about gluten-free provision.”
Coeliac disease is a serious life-long autoimmune disease that can cause serious bowel damage to sufferers if they do not stick to a strict gluten-free diet for life. The condition currently affects 600,000 people in the UK, who heavily influence their dining companions to avoid restaurants with limited gluten-free options.