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Food companies should avoid allergens, not cater to preferences

December 3, 2019


Photo courtesy / Pixabay

This egg sandwich spread is gluten-free but not vegan. Increasingly, companies look to cater to individuals with specific dietary needs or requests.

Children are taught from an early age that there is a difference between a need and a want. Food companies need to be able to accommodate the needs of individuals with certain conditions, such as gluten allergies, over the preferences of a group of individuals, such as vegans and vegetarians.

A gluten allergy is when a person’s body ingests glutens, but it causes a stress response. Gluten is present in several products that are prevalent in the fast food landscape of today: French fries, pastas, sauces, and cakes.  According to Gluten Intolerance School, gluten foods are 242% much more expensive than regular food. Being gluten intolerant isn’t easy, especially when having to navigate the food companies of today. Some plant-based meat substitutes are recommended for people with gluten allergies to avoid, because they are often comprised of high amounts of gluten (Impossible Burgers and Beyond Burgers are notable exceptions, however). People with gluten allergies are more prone to levels of high stress and their body rejecting substances, meaning their needs must be catered to.

With the rise of veganism and vegetarianism as a response to the climate change epidemic, it is becoming difficult for people with gluten allergies to be accommodated. A common staple of the vegan diet is cereals and grains, which for people with gluten allergies, causes stress reactions from their bodies. Veganism is abstaining from eating meat, eggs, dairy, gelatin, and honey. Vegetarians abstain from simply eating meat.

“Food companies should definitely cater to people gluten allergies rather than those who are vegan,” said Marian O’Veal White, a nursing student from the University of Texas at El Paso. “When it comes down to gluten allergies, this definitely causes a severe stress in the body, which can range from mild symptoms to severe symptoms.”

It is imperative that food companies listen to the needs of people with gluten allergies. In the end, a need should a higher priority than a want. You can want something, but it won’t hurt you if you never get it. Yet, if your needs aren’t fulfilled, a part of you isn’t either. Food companies need to move towards more inclusivity in accommodating the needs of a minority with a condition.

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