85 Per Cent More Seeking Out Gluten-Free Restaurants

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

A leading tourism and hospitality website is reporting a huge surge in enquiries for people looking for gluten-free places to eat out, and is predicting that this increased demand will continue throughout 2011.

iknow-uk, the UK's leading accommodation and tourism directory, has seen an 85 per cent surge in people searching for gluten-free restaurants on its site in the last month, compared with the same time last month.

Gluten-free restaurant hotspots discovered by the sites statistics are Cardiff (178 per cent increase) and Manchester (35 per cent increase).

The charity Coeliac UK reports around one in 100 people have coeliac disease and need to follow a life-long gluten-free diet, and many more people are opting to follow a gluten or wheat-free diet as a lifestyle choice - including celebs such as Fern Britton and Victoria Beckham.

Research carried out in 2010 by the gluten-free market leading brand, DS-gluten free showed that 44 per cent of people living with coeliac disease have given up on eating out after struggling to find anywhere which could cater for their needs and were too afraid of taking the risk. 

iknow-uk's statistics show that this may be changing as people become more confident in restaurants understanding of special dietary requirements.

Marcus Simmons, iknow-uk's managing director, comments: "People who need to follow special diets can feel too embarrassed to visit restaurants in case they fall ill.  Many years ago these dietary requirements were very much un-catered for, but now restaurants are opening their eyes and trying to accommodate these needs.  There's still a long way to go though, and it's obvious that there's a real need for more restaurants to consider catering for people with allergies and intolerances.

"Many of my relatives have food intolerances and allergies, so I have witnessed first-hand the obstacles people face when eating out.  It can get quite frustrating for sufferers, so it's great that the hospitality industry is starting to recognise special dietary requirements. I'm sure more restaurants will follow when they realise there's actual business potential which could help increase revenue."

Michelle Shinn, retail brand manager for Nutrition Point, recently launched a new range of gluten free products under their DS-gluten free brand aimed at the foodservice industry to meet this new demand. 

She explained: "Many people with allergies and intolerances are frustrated with the lack of choice when choosing where to eat and worry about the consequences of eating food which may contain harmful ingredients to them.  Many would rather stay in than take the risk.   

"We always advise those people who worry about visiting restaurants to call ahead to discuss their concerns and outline their allergies to see if they cater for the special diet.

"It's really positive to see a surge in enquiries for gluten-free restaurants as it means a lot more people with special dietary requirements are confident about eating out - let's hope it continues to rise! The important thing now is for more restaurants to respond and increase their gluten-free offering. 

"Having an intolerance shouldn't mean that you have to stay at home, these statistics show that there's a real need for restaurants to cater for special diets which is a significant step for the hospitality industry."

Founded by Marcus in 2003 with the iknow-yorkshire website, iknow-uk now operates 18 regional websites for accommodation and hospitality providers including restaurants, hotels, guest houses, holiday cottages and B&Bs.                                                                            

Restaurant owners looking to list on one of iknow's regional websites, should visit www.iknow-uk.com.





Notes to Editors


About iknow-uk:


  • iknow-uk specialises in helping people plan and book the perfect UK holiday, by researching and offering the best local information to inspire the thousands of people that visit the sites each month


  • iknow-uk gives visitors a wide choice of ways to research and contact accommodation providers. They can book online or have the option to contact properties by phone, email or through their websites


  • iknow-uk ltd launched iknow-yorkshire in September 2003. It has since launched an additional 17 sites, including iknow-scotland, iknow-lakedistrict, iknow-northwest, iknow-cornwall, iknow-devon, iknow-wales, iknow-dorset, iknow-kent, iknow-somerset, iknow-sussex, iknow-hampshire, iknow-northeast, iknow-peakdistrict, iknow-london, iknow-homecounties and iknow-cotswolds. iknow-westmidlands, iknow-eastmidlands and iknow-northernireland are soon to follow


  • April 2009 saw the launch of a comprehensive hospitality section to iknow-yorkshire. Hospitality is now also available on all the iknow-uk regional sites


  • Since its launch, iknow-uk has over 6,000 customers, including accommodation and hospitality providers, listing on its regional websites. The sites have received over 25 million visitors and created two million booking enquiries for customers listing on the regional sites, which equates to £290 million worth of bookings - making iknow a leading authority on online bookings across the UK


  • For further enquiries on listing on iknow-uk's websites, please contact Eve or Rachael at iknow-uk on 01772 521166