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Food-Allergy Sufferers Reward Companies That Address Their Needs

October 11, 2010: 03:26 AM EST

Four percent of the U.S. population currently suffers from food-related allergies, up18 percent in the last ten years, and both food manufacturers and food-service providers are beginning to address allergy victims’ concerns. General Mills’ gluten-free brands, Chili's allergen-informative website, and American Airlines switch from peanuts to pretzels are all examples of how businesses meet these expanding challenges. Because a large percentage of the 12 million U.S. food-allergy sufferers are children, parents are highly-sensitive to safety issues, underscoring the need for businesses to change food processing, preparation, distribution and contamination-prevention practices. Doing so can allay victims’ concerns but also be good for business. Unresponsive companies will likely lose business, a process aided by technology:  the iPhone app, iCanEatOntheGo, screens fast-food restaurants; Foodcontentalerts.com identifies packaged-food allergy issues; and Allerdine.com grades restaurants on allergy-related issues.

Rupal Parekh, "Market for Food-Allergy-Friendly Biz More Than Peanuts", AdAge.com, October 11, 2010, © Crain Communications
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