Over the years, we have seen an increased awareness for health, from allergens to calories that has effected many catering businesses - we first seen an introduction of the Allergen legislation in 2014 which means any establishment serving food in Ireland must either have a central folder on display at their cash register or main counter which displays allergen breakdowns of each dish, or to list the allergens on each individual menu. This can be all down to the rise of awareness of intolerances in Ireland with the likes of coeliac disease or a variety of intolerances now easily tested for at your local GP and some pharmacies. We are also in a health conscious age and combatting obesity is important, with the introduction for restaurant owners to also display calories on their menu, which Minister For Health Simon Harris plans to introduce by the end of 2019 in one attempt to combat obesity.
With the rise of alternative diets and people choosing to live a healthier lifestyle, we are seeing an increased awareness for food intolerances such as dairy/gluten and the health implications that may be associated with over-indulging in meat, resulting in vegetarianism and veganism. This is resulting in many restaurants having to introduce Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free options on their menus. Whereas we might feel that these diets may be trends, these are all stemming from environmental, ethical & health conscious motives which are proven to be working as a lifestyle for many people today. With these regimes seeming quite new to us, alternative diets have always been an important and prominent part of our history, no matter what form they’ve taken. From the 1820s we seen the introduction of the vinegar & water diet to today seeing the popular apple cider vinegar as an age old remedy, with other diets throughout decades considered healthy such as the grapefruit diet in the 1930s, the cabbage soup diet in the 1950s, the introduction of Weight Watchers in 1960s, to the Atkins diet in the 90s.
We may not want to change our menu to suit these, but there is a high demand in Ireland today for specialised menus and making some changes could really help set you apart from other businesses. We’ve decided to run through a background of the top three intolerances we are now facing in 2019 to help you introduce measures in your bar, restaurant or hotel to accommodate for these.
Gluten Intolerance – Coeliac Disease
Gluten Intolerance is a fairly common problem which is caused by adverse reactions to gluten, which is a protein found primarily in wheat, barely & rye. There is a difference between intolerance and what is known as Coeliac Disease. This disease is a more extreme version of the intolerance and is deemed as an autoimmune disease - it has effect approximately 1% of the population and can lead to problems with one’s digestive system. Usually signs of these depend on the extremity of the symptoms such as bloating, tiredness, abdominal pain, headaches, skin problems & more! This means that simple things on your menu such as sandwiches with ordinary bread, anything battered or breaded, and for some people with this intolerance chips – this can be because you cook your chicken goujons in the same oil as your chips. Simple changes such as gluten free bread or separate toasters/deep fryers can really help for your customers with this illness!
Vegetarian / Pescatarian
A vegetarian diet is based mainly on a diet of abstaining from eating the meat from animals such as beef, chicken, pork, lamb & fish and a Pescatarian diet being the same except allowing themselves to consume fish. There are many reasons behind these diets such as animal welfare, health concerns, religious beliefs and concern about the environment. Some people these days also opt to include a variety in their diet while including lots of vegetarian meals but still including non-vegetarian meals in their diet. A common concern for someone switching to this diet would be protein but there are lots of non-meat products that contain high levels of proteins such as dairy foods, eggs, beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, Quorn, soya, nuts.
A vegan is someone who abstains from eating ANY animal by-product! Unlike a vegetarian who can eat dairy, a vegan lives a lifestyle without eating anything that comes from animal including eggs, milk, cheese, butter and of course, meat! Many vegans choose this way of life due to similar reasons to vegetarian, such as animal well-being & environmentally reasons, as well as concerns of health benefits revolved around eating meat. For more information on veganism, check out our blog here.
We’d love to know how you’ve designed your current food menu around current food trends or dietary requirements! Let us know on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram what delicious dishes you’ve created around veganism/vegetarism and gluten free options! Despite what’s on your menu, it’s vital to have the right equipment to cook the most stunning meals for your guests, from pots & pans to serving on the most eye-catching crockery & table-ware; To shop our products, visit our online store now at www.hughjordan.com