Phil Lempert teamed with IDDBA for an exclusive consumer survey on allergens and walked through the findings with the Sunday Deli-Dairy-Bake Seminar & Expo crowd.

Lempert says food allergies are on the rise. From 1997 to 2007, the CDC reported an 18-percent increase in food allergies among children. One in 50 American adults has a doctor-diagnosed food allergy and Stanford University predicts the rate will double about every 10 years. The university also says there is a 65 percent change of adults passing on food allergies to their children.

Among the IDDBA data, 41 percent said they, or someone in their household, has a food allergy.  With food allergy shoppers constantly reading labels, retailers must build confidence. Nearly one-third of shoppers question if an on-pack claim such as “allergy-free” is actually true. Seven of 10 look for additional certification to insure the food is safe.

Lempert says that since just 5 of respondents said their supermarkets reported that their store has trained its staff with food allergy certification programs, it is a huge opportunity for retailers. Of the 95 percent who said their store did not have trained staff, 60 percent said they would shop there more often if the training was provided.

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