The report found that 59 per cent of people want to see more gluten-free options on menus and 21 per cent would be willing to pay more for a gluten-free meal.
Seventy-three per cent of people indicated that they don't feel the out-of-home sector does enough to cater for gluten intolerances, which Aviko general manager Mohammed Essa said put 'operators and their customers at risk'.
“It’s essential for operators to highlight their coeliac friendly options to increase traffic through the door and maximise profit – especially as 68 per cent of people don’t feel gluten-free options are clear enough on menus," said Essa.
Diners with allergies represent a potentially untapped market for businesses; with Coliac UK estimating the hospitality industry misses out on £100m in revenue a year from diners with gluten allergies.
One in every 100 people is diagnosed with coeliac disease, with the dining choices of their friends and family also affected by where they are able to eat.
The report found that failure to offer an adequate number of gluten-free options also damaged customer loyalty, with 29 per cent of diners opting not to return to a restaurant that failed to cater to coeliacs.
Sixty-one per cent of diners indicated that they would like to see more gluten-free main courses available while 36 per cent wished for more options on starter and dessert menus.
The number of children diagnosed with coeliac disease in the UK has almost tripled in the last 20 years, and 28 per cent of diners said they would like to see more gluten-free options for young people.
“With the recent allergen legislation coming into effect it’s never been more important for operators to be fully aware of what’s on their menus,” said Essa.
As Coeliac Awareness week approaches, Aviko has created an infographic highlighting the key findings of the recent research and the profit opportunities available. The gluten-free potato products supplier is also supporting caterers with free point-of-sale materials to help highlight their gluten-free offering, available to download.