As a company whose main service is providing food for events, we have to be extra careful about clients who have dietary restrictions and food allergies. Here are some helpful tips and catering considerations for food allergies and dietary restrictions.
The easiest way to determine if you need to order special items for attendees, is by asking them! When sending out invitations to your event, make sure to include a section asking them about any and all dietary restrictions and food allergies. Then relay this information to your catering company when ordering.
Know What You Might Encounter
When an attendee lets you know which food allergy or dietary restriction they have, it’s best if you already know a little bit about what it entails. Some of the most common food allergies and how to accommodate them are as follows:
A nut allergy is probably the most common food allergy. Any and all types of nuts are included, so do not to use nuts or nut products in your cooking or with any of the same cooking supplies if an attendee is allergic to them. This can go as far as even refraining from using peanut oil and substituting it with another, similar cooking oil for your dishes. Severity of this allergy varies from mild to extremely severe allergic reactions, so it’s best to remove nuts from the menu all together, just to be safe.
Having a gluten allergy or preference against it has becoming increasingly common over the past decade, so most catering companies should be aware of the food restrictions. Gluten is a wheat protein most commonly found in bread products, but can also be in many other food products that one wouldn’t normally think of, like soy sauce. Make sure there are plenty of gluten free options as well as non-gluten free options for guests to choose from to ensure that all attendees can enjoy similar food.
People who are on a vegetarian diet simply do not eat meat. They might be pescatarian and, in that case, can consume seafood, so be sure to ask guests to clarify. Adding vegetarian options to the menu is typically easy to do and most caterers already have alternative items prepared for this.
Vegan diets do not allow for the consumption of any animal products. This includes meat, eggs, milk, and butter, just to name a few. This diet has a few more restrictions than most, making it a bit trickier to accommodate, but can easily be done with enough planning and time.
The Paleo diet is increasingly popular and is thought to be a healthy lifestyle rather than a diet. It is based off of the foods eaten by early humans, and consists mainly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit. It excludes all dairy, grains, and processed foods. Paleo attendees should usually be able to find something that accommodates their dietary restrictions on many normal menus, but to be on the safe side, its best to supply them with a menu beforehand.
This may be the most difficult dietary restriction to accommodate due to the many restrictions in place on the food that can be used and the way it must be prepared. Most catering companies don’t normally accommodate these dietary restrictions, so it is best to contact them beforehand. In some cases, they may have to order from a separate company to ensure the food is up to Kosher standards and may charge more for this service.
Halal restricts participants, usually those of Muslim faith, to eating a type of animal that has been slaughtered and prepared in a certain way. The meat must be Halal certified and not contain meat derived from pigs. This restriction is relatively easy to accommodate and attendees who affiliate with this limitation will usually be able to eat alternative menu items that do not contain meat.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your guests’ safety. If the catering company did not already, you should label all food with the name of the dish and all of the dietary and allergic restrictions that it encompasses. This will allow attendees to quickly determine which foods they can safely consume and which they cannot.
Planning a meal for a large group can be difficult. The more you know about who will be attending and what type of food allergies or dietary restrictions they may have will help streamline the process and ensure that no guest goes hungry. Here at That Personal Touch Catering, we are happy to accommodate all special requests and catering considerations for food allergies and dietary restrictions. Visit our website or give us a call to learn more about our options and how we can help take your next event to the next level!