Survey: How Young People Aged 16-24 Cope with Their Food Allergies and Intolerances

Young Adults Dining Out

A recent survey conducted by the UK Food Standards Agency in partnership with Allergy UK and the Anaphylaxis Campaign sheds light on how young people view and cope with their food allergies and intolerances with respect to eating out.

Using an online service, the survey collected responses to 28 questions from 2599 respondents aged 16-24 across the UK. The specific aims of the study were to:

  • Understand the profile of this cohort of young people;
  • Characterize their experience of living a food allergy/intolerance or other food condition;
  • Explore their experiences of eating out, specifically when not with someone who provides support;
  • Identify key support mechanisms for young people eating out with a food allergy/intolerance.

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The study provides a window into understanding how teens and young adults view the challenges of living with a potentially life-threatening condition.

Here follows some selected results:

  • 49% of respondents reported having a food allergy, 33% reported having a food intolerance and 18% reported having both a food allergy and intolerance;
  • 88% of respondents reported eating out or ordering take-out/food online without support;
  • Before eating out without support, 55% of these respondents reported always researching the menu, and 49% said that they always pack their medication. 7% of respondents reported never preparing;
  • When eating out, 59% of eligible respondents reported that they often tend to visit the same places;
  • When ordering a take-out/food online without support, 51% of eligible respondents stated that they always check an online menu’s allergen information before choosing what to eat. 39% reported that they always only order specific dishes that they know are safe;
  • Overall, 60% of respondents reported they had avoid eating out in the last six months because of their condition;
  • 67% of respondents reported that they were aware of the legal requirement of food businesses to provide customers with information on the top 14 allergens, when used as ingredients in the food they serve;
  • 53% of all eligible respondents stated that they felt extremely, very or quite confident that food businesses are able to provide correct information regarding allergens in food they serve;
  • 14% reported feeling extremely confident asking for allergen information when eating out or ordering a takeaway/ food online, while 14% reported feeling not at all confident.

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The detailed report and analysis entitled “Young people and food allergies/intolerances” is available online by clicking here. It provides a wealth of information including results like this that show how diligent the respondents were in carrying their epinephrine (adrenaline) auto-injectors:

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