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Free-from Feasting

Christmas is a lucrative period for operators. However, it can be a difficult time for those who suffer with coeliac disease or who adhere to a gluten-free diet.

With 1 in 100 people in the UK suffering with coeliac disease, operators could be losing out on potential Xmas sales from those diners who require a gluten-free diet and drive the decision on where to eat out.

“Offering gluten-free food at Christmas – or any time of the year – attracts diners and has real profit potential,” says Kathryn Miller, head of food policy for Coeliac UK. “People with coeliac disease and the friends and family they eat with are worth an estimated £100 million to the hospitality industry. Whether you are producing gluten-free meals already and are not actively promoting your offer, or if you need to make minor adjustments to your ingredients and processes, it is worth the time and investment in the long run.”

Catering gluten free doesn’t have to be difficult or mean those customers following a gluten-free diet have to miss out on the season’s festivities. Here are some helpful tips from Coeliac UK to help make your Christmas a happy, gluten-free one…

• All poultry, meat and fish are naturally gluten free. Even if a bird has been fed on a gluten-containing cereal, the meat is gluten free
• All vegetables are naturally gluten free, and add some gluten-free Yorkshire puddings to make it extra special
• Chipolata sausages and stuffing generally contain gluten – see our gluten-free stuffing recipe below
• Traditional gravy made with meat juices is fine, but if using a stock make sure this is gluten free. Some gravy granules contain gluten so it is important to check before use or buy a gluten-free alternative
• For mince pies make sure you make them with gluten-free flour and mincemeat, or buy ready to roll gluten-free pastry. You can buy gluten-free Christmas puddings too
• Alternative options for a Christmas dessert include crème brûlée or a pavlova – both gluten free. Or how about a cheese board? Cheese is naturally gluten free and gluten-free crackers are readily available
• Cider, wine, sherry, port, spirits and liqueurs are all gluten free
• Beer, lager, stout and ale contain gluten

Checking labels
Gluten-containing cereals are one of the 14 listed allergens that must be listed in the ingredients list. Therefore, if you use a cereal containing gluten as an ingredient you must declare this on the list. These include: wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt and khorasan wheat.
Visit coeliac.org.uk/christmas

Click here for Gluten-free Stuffing recipe.

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