Vitalite announces specialist retailer support as it marks Allergy Awareness Week

Saputo Dairy UK’s dairy-free brand Vitalite UK, has partnered with training provider The Allergy Badge to campaign for better industry awareness on food allergies as it unveils a package of free support for retailers.

The family-friendly dairy-free spread has undertaken new research to shine a light on the stress that parents suffer as a result of having a child with a food allergy. The poll of more than 1,000 parents of children with food allergies revealed that the majority (86%) of parents spend more than an hour on an average weekday simply worrying about their child’s food allergies. Nearly half (48%) have lost sleep due to worry and 21% say that their mental health has been negatively impacted.

The research also revealed that nearly a third (30%) have avoided trying out new recipes or meals for the family. A quarter (25%) don’t trust restaurants to take the proper precautions when preparing food for their child’s allergies and more than half (58%) feel anxious when their child eats outside of the home.

The results have been released to mark Allergy Awareness Week (22nd – 28th April) and also highlighted that almost half (49%) say they have declined social events, 19% said they have been too distracted to work and 18% said they’ve even missed out on holidays – all as a result of their child’s food allergy.

It is thought that 40% of children in the UK have been diagnosed with an allergy[3], and with allergies in the UK growing at a rate of 5% every year[4] this is set to increase even further. Vitalite is offering free educational workshops for retailers in partnership with The Allergy Badge to help improve industry awareness. They aim to empower retailers with the knowledge and tools to understand and better cater for people with allergies.

Jo Swan, senior brand manager for Vitalite, commented: “Not only are food allergies in children common, this research shows the profound impact they have on parents. No-one should have their mental wellbeing adversely affected by food, and as an industry we have a responsibility to take food allergies seriously. Through better awareness and education, together we have the opportunity to make a meaningful difference to peoples’ lives.”

Founder of specialist training provider The Allergy Badge, Natalie Hopkins, commented: “These results are shocking, but not surprising. Time after time, parents tell me how fearful their child’s food allergies makes them feel, of what could happen and the constant need for vigilance. It is exhausting and mentally draining. I implore retailers and food producers to take allergies seriously. Not only to meet their legal and moral obligations to keep consumers of all ages safe, but to help create inclusive experiences for individuals with allergies and help alleviate the strain on parents.”

Retailers attending the workshops can expect to learn about the symptoms of an allergic reaction, the emergency use of adrenaline auto-injectors and advice on simple changes that can keep environments safe.

The research also showed that more than a third (34%) of parents suffered from anxiety, and one in five (19%) described themselves as ‘overwhelmed’.

Vitalite is a Top 14 Allergen Free product.

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