Food flags and allergy advice

As anyone working in the food or hospitality sector will tell you, giving your customers access to all allergy advice and ingredients is critical to keeping those with allergies and intolerances safe. It’s also vital to ensure your business stays on the right side of the law.

Under current UK legislation, food business operators in the retail and catering sectors are required to provide allergen information and follow labelling rules. This helps the estimated two million people living with a food allergy to avoid the ingredients that could cause them to become seriously ill.

By law, all food businesses must provide allergen information to the consumer for both prepacked and non-prepacked food and drink and handle and manage food allergens effectively in food preparation.

When it comes to providing customers with the correct advice on the ingredients and potential allergens contained within any of your products, you need a process which is efficient, effective and visible. It can be a time-consuming task to explain every single ingredient that does into a dish, plus it also requires excellent staff training and memory skills from your servers.

One way that some grab and go establishments are helping to cut down queues whilst giving their customers allergen information for products such as sandwiches, pastries and cakes displayed in chiller cabinets is with the use of food flags.

Usually seen adorning burgers and club sandwiches, these cost-effective yet handy little tools are handy for imparting essential allergen information to customers visually in a matter of moments.  Here are a few ways that you can use food flags to provide the information your customers require legally while keeping wait times to a minimum:



A highly visual way of showing customers that a product contains a certain allergen, using symbols such as a peanut for nuts or a prawn for crustaceans, is a good way of alerting customers to the fact that a product contains a particular form of allergen.

When backed up with a precise ingredients list, this is a striking and fast way of conveying information at a glance.


Colour coding

If you have a sit-down menu, using a food flag and menu that is colour coded for allergens will stop any order mix-ups. It also prevents one of your valued customers accidently biting into something that could be potentially harmful to them.



Sometimes, all that's needed to stop someone from consuming something that contains an allergen that they need to avoid is a little text. A food flag with the words 'contains milk' etc. is an effective way of getting the information across easily.


Tags: Food flags, allergy advice, food allergens