An estimated two million people in the UK have a diagnosed food allergy and up to 20% of the population believe that they have a food intolerance. When eating out or ordering takeaway they need clear, accurate information on food allergens to make informed, safe choices.
“That food allergies have risen is unquestionably the case, to an absolutely crazy extent” Graham Rook, emeritus professor of medical microbiology at University College London.
Food businesses are legally required to manage allergens properly and to train staff. Crucially, they must advise customers if the food or drink they provide contains any of the main 14 allergens.
This presents a challenge, especially for smaller caterers. Many use time-consuming, unreliable paper-based systems to record and share allergen information because they do not have the resources to create digital menus.
The solution is Menu Guide. Developed in partnership with hospitality providers, this online tool provides a quick and easy way to create, edit, store and share interactive allergen menus with staff and customers at any time via a scannable QR code or website short-link.
Menu Guide runs through a web browser, is accessible via any internet-connected device and doesn’t require special software or an app. Allergen menus can be created from scratch, with content scraped from the business’s website, or using uploaded Word, PDF or Excel files.
Along with the allergens in each dish, food businesses can provide optional information on sourcing, dietary categories (e.g. vegetarian, vegan), calories and a full list of ingredients. Menus may be customised using a range of design templates or a white-labelling service.
There are multiple benefits to using Menu Guide. It streamlines operations and promotes effective allergen management. By eliminating paperwork, providing a single digital reference point for all allergen information and supporting staff training and service, it minimises risk to consumers. Menus may be searched and filtered by allergen, dietary restriction or ingredient and diners’ preferences remembered for future use.
Menu Guide’s helpful safeguards include automatic emails reminding staff to check that allergen menus are up-to-date and a facility for diners to report inaccurate information. It increases customer choice, confidence and protection while helping food businesses promote their allergen management credentials. By providing a positive, safe experience it builds loyalty and repeat trade.
This cost-effective online tool is continually evolving to meet the needs of food businesses and consumers. Clients will be able to print a full ingredients list highlighting all the allergens in their pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) foods to comply with ‘Natasha’s Law’, the new labelling requirements that will apply from 1 October 2021.
Menu Guide’s online allergen management tool wins the ‘Innovation and Technical’ category at the Regulatory Excellence Awards 2021
An innovative online tool that enables food businesses to easily share accurate allergen and dietary information with customers has received a national UK government award. Menu Guide (menuguide.pro), created by Glint Media Ltd, won the ‘Innovation and Technical’ category at the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) Regulatory Excellence Awards 2021 on 10 June 2021.