In January 2015 talkhealth carried out a survey to understand from you more about the challenges of living with allergies, plus what your thoughts were on what are the best supermarket allergy free ranges, and specialised brands?  We also wanted to hear what you felt  about how restaurants cater for those with specific food allergies – are they more aware and do they offer a better service than they did two years ago? 

The most common form of reported allergy from those that completed the survey were those that have a diary allergy – making up to 38% of all entrants.  Other reported allergies included wheat, gluten, eggs, nuts and fish/shellfish, plus less common ones of tomatoes, strawberries, yeast, pineapples, kiwi fruit and mushrooms.

Official diagnosis of the allergy was generally made by a GP (39%), however a large percentage (35%) had self-diagnosed whilst only 11% had been diagnosed by an allergy specialist.

72% of people said they used the internet regularly to research their allergy with popular sites being NHS Choices, Allergy UK, Anaphylaxis Campaign, Coeliac UK, Glutafin, WebMD and talkhealth.

The very good and positive news was that a surprisingly low 7% felt it was very difficult to manage, with the majority of (57%) feeling that they just have to be careful.   The most difficult part of living with an allergy was found to be eating in restaurants (35%) followed by eating on the go (24%).   It is felt that restaurants still have a long way to go for those suffering with allergies with only a few people feeling that this area was very good, but the majority did feel that there was a slight improvement within the last 2 years.

Tesco’s range was the brand that most people had used, and also rated the highest quality followed closely by M&S.  As an average Tesco and Asda’s brands came out the most popular ranges.  The most popular allergy friendly products that are bought on a regular basis were Free From, Alpro and Lactofree.  

If you're interested in a detailed analysis of the results for these surveys please contact us.