How are your customers preparing for the new allergen regulations?
Our restaurant partners have been getting up to speed on the new allergen labelling rules and the guidance that has been provided by the Food Standards Agency, and other bodies, on how to comply with them.
We have been helping with this process by providing restaurants with information and advice on the new rules. For example, we have run a number of articles in our partner magazine, and will shortly be sending out guidance leaflets produced by the Food Standards Agency. We have also ensured that staff working with our restaurant partners day to day are fully trained on the new rules to ensure they are able to provide them with guidance and support.
What are their concerns?
While businesses have known about the new regulations for some time, there is still some concern about what the allergen labelling rules will mean in practice and how to comply with them.
This is why we’ve been working hard to get the message out to our restaurant partners over recent months, and are looking to support them with information and advice on allergen labelling.
How is the impact of the new law going to be different for restaurants offering takeaway, compared to eat-in only venues?
The main difference is likely to be around how different types of restaurant choose to provide this information to consumers. For example, dine-in restaurants may find it easier to do so in writing on menus or chalkboards, while takeaways may find it easier to provide it verbally.
What advice would you give to restaurant owners who are worried they won’t be ready by December? How can they catch up quickly on preparations?
Every business is different so restaurant owners will need to ensure they, and all their staff, fully understand the new rules, as well as the particular steps they need to take to comply with them.
Thankfully, there are a number of different ways to provide the allergen information, which should allow restaurant owners to use the method that works best for them.
Businesses looking to find out more should go to bodies like the Food Standards Agency, which has published helpful and easy to understand information on the new rules and how to comply with them. Trading Standards and other stakeholders like the British Retail Consortium, have also produced useful information.
Are the regulations changing anything on Just Eat?
Yes, we will be taking a number of steps in response to the new regulations.
In addition to providing educational literature to restaurant owners, we will be providing visitors to our website with more prominent information about allergens. This will include a detailed FAQ with guidance for allergen sufferers about what to do when ordering online.
We will also be making some changes to our merchandise to provide consumers with an additional reminder about allergens.
Do you think the allergen labelling law will be beneficial or detrimental to the foodservice industry?
Clearly this is a big change which will require everyone involved in the food industry, including ingredients suppliers, restaurants, and even consumers, to do things differently.
There will undoubtedly be some challenges, particularly in the early days, so everyone involved in the industry will need to support one another as the rules bed in.
Ultimately I think these new rules will be seen as positive for our industry. Consumers are becoming more discerning about their food, and are increasingly seeking out more information on key aspects like quality, customer service, and even hygiene ratings before choosing what to eat.
As a result, being able to provide consumers with more information about allergens will help them make more informed choices and feel more confident about the food they are ordering, which can only be a good thing.