Allergies have become more common, with FMI reporting 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from at least one.

Brands, food suppliers, manufacturers, and restaurants have to exercise caution when serving customers, since the potential reactions could be deadly for someone severely allergic to an ingredient. So how do you keep your target audience safe from potential contamination?

Data Collection

Collecting data should be your first step in allergen management. Doing so will help you have effective tools to check product packaging and ingredient lists for consistent and safe retail execution. When regulations change, you can quickly adapt to the new market by knowing exactly what you need in order to alter your products. For example, complying with EU Regulation 1169 requires allergen information to stand out on the packaging. You also have to ensure that any digital shelf representations of your products meet the same labeling rules. Other parts of the label, such as calorie counts, are subject to change. You can streamline the entire process when you implement data collection software. Outside of this and similar regulations, such as the FDA Nutrition Facts label, you can also improve your brand consistency across channels.

Consumers can run into problems if products are miscategorized. For example, if a retail store puts gluten products in a gluten-free section, shoppers with allergies or sensitivities could get sick. An accurate label that emphasizes allergen information helps, but products need to go into the right aisles to reduce confusion and misunderstandings. Frequent data collection lets you check up on your retail execution and address any problems that occur before someone has a bad experience with your brand.

Dietary Trends

Allergens aren’t the only reason to spend more time on your product labeling and categorization. Consumers will often keep an eye on your labels to see if your food and beverage products fit into the latest dietary trends. Paleo, Keto, Mediterranean, Gluten-free and other diets ask customers to change their typical eating habits. Those consumers sometimes need help figuring out what fits in with their new lifestyle without spending hours looking up label information. Improve your sales and profits by pointing out products that work with the most popular options. Collect data on consumer eating habits and read dietitian news sources to position yourself ahead of your competition when your customers decide they want to try something new.

Employees’ Allergies

Do you have a way to monitor your employees’ allergies or have policies in place addressing this situation? Many companies focus entirely on consumers while failing to realize the consequences of a reaction in the workplace. Congress ruled that food allergies fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act, so employers must understand and adapt to worker needs. Workers compensation claims could also be a consequence from allergen-related injuries and accidents. Data collection tools will help you discover which employees face severe problems, as well as any dangerous areas where contamination could occur. For example, break rooms could contain peanuts, shellfish, and other common allergens. Use this data to create policies that minimize risk and explore ways to accommodate allergic workers. Peanut-free zones and restrictions on certain outside foods will create a safer environment for these staff members.

Commonplace food allergies make it critically important for food and beverage companies to accurately label and shelf their products, whether it’s at a grocery store or offered on an e-commerce site. Data collection tools can give you the necessary insights to remain in compliance with regulations, adapt to new dietary trends, and improve your profits.

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