Living with Food Sensitivities


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We know that everyone’s experiences with food sensitivities are unique so we asked consumers about their personal challenges, feelings and current habits. This presentation is the result of an online survey conducted in June 2010 by TAXI NYC for it’s web property

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Living with Food Sensitivities

  2. 2. INTRODUCTION Food Content Alerts, the world’s first consumer-driven food sensitivity management site, launched in November 2009. Today, the site has over 1,500 members and is slowly growing its membership through trial and word-of-mouth. The site creators are keenly aware of the challenges of living with food sensitivities. They know that there is a huge emotional investment for every individual and parent who deals with this on a daily basis, but they also know that people’s conditions, attitudes, behaviors, and coping mechanisms are all different. In order to understand more about our site’s users and the universe of people affected by food sensitivities, we decided to field a comprehensive survey online. We collected the results over a period of four weeks and have now compiled the results for the benefit of our online community and other interested individuals. Thank you to everyone who took part. We hope you find the results interesting and useful.
  3. 3. METHODOLOGY Online survey fielded in June 2010 n=970 respondents Sample gathered from U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand Respondents either personally suffer from food sensitivities or have someone in their household who is directly affected Respondents were not given any type of material incentive to participate in the survey
  4. 4. ExECutivE SummAry 83% of respondents personally suffer from a food allergy or sensitivity, while a further 17% do not suffer themselves but have someone in their household who does While 55% of households contain one sufferer, a significant minority of households contain multiple sufferers, with 20% having three or more sufferers within one household 30% of respondents claimed food sensitivities made life very difficult, with a further 36% claiming it made life difficult; only 10% thought dealing with sensitivities and allergies was easy Emotions associated with food sensitivities differ for those who suffer themselves (anger and frustration) compared to those who care for others with this problem (anxiety and fear) Milk, gluten, and wheat were the most common allergens affecting the sample, while 40% of respondents mentioned suffering from less well-known allergens, such as corn, sesame, and beef
  5. 5. Most respondents are self-reliant – only 14% said they would consult with a healthcare professional to determine whether a food was safe, and, although reading labels is the most common strategy, total avoidance was the response from 68% of the sample Most respondents rely on memory to “store” their safe foods 34% find it hard to find safe foods and recipes, while 24% find it easy 60% of respondents say food companies provide inadequate sensitivity information, while only 13% hold the opposite view Bob’s Red Mill, Enjoy Life Foods, and Amy’s Kitchen were most often mentioned as brand of choice; others in the top 10 were General Mills, Glutino, Trader Joe’s, Kraft, Udi’s, Silk, and Kellogg’s (including Kashi) Whole Foods was the most often mentioned retailer Majority of respondents did not rely on one particular site to check or search for safe foods 73% of respondents currently shared their safe foods and recipes with friends and family
  7. 7. most respondents who took the survey personally suffer from a food allergy or sensitivity. Do you have a food allergy or food sensitivity? 17.3% 82.7% Yes No
  8. 8. While the majority of households contain one sufferer, a significant minority contain multiple sufferers. How many food sensitivity sufferers are in your household? 11.3% 24.1% 5.9% 1 4.0% 2 3 54.7% 4+ None
  9. 9. 66% of respondents find food sensitivities make their life difficult. To what extent is you family life affected by the food sensitivities in the household? 24.3% 7.4% 1 It makes life very difficult 2.5% 2 36.1% 3 29.8% 4 5 Very easy to deal with
  10. 10. People with sensitivities are most likely to feel frustration, while caregivers tend to be more anxious and fearful. PErSONAL SuFFErErS NON-SuFFErEr With SuFFErEr iN hOuSEhOLD Anger Anger Fear Fear Pride Pride Contentment Contentment Frustration Frustration Security Security Love Love Depression Depression Anxiety Anxiety Optimism Optimism Other Other
  11. 11. milk, gluten, and wheat are most prevalent of the common allergies listed. What types of food sensitivities do you have in your household? (Check all that apply) 600 50.7% 46.3% 46.7% 40.8% 39.4% 400 31.3% 27.5% 23.8% 22.3% 200 15.6% 9.0% 0 Shellfish allergy Tree nut allergy Peanut allergy Celiac allergy Gluten allergy Fish allergy Soybean allergy Egg allergy Other (please specify) Wheat allergy Milk allergy
  12. 12. in addition to the more common allergies, an incredibly wide range of allergens were mentioned.
  13. 13. most respondents are self-reliant; total avoidance of unknown foods is a key strategy. How do you currently determine whether or not a food is safe? (Check all that apply) I search on the web 55.9% I search on the web 51.5% I use a specific 31.2% website for people with... I search on the web 29.3% I tend to stay away 68.2% form foods that... I read the label 93.5% of the food I use my mobile phone to 11.1% look up whether a... I talk to a 14.5% doctor/pediatrician/allergist I talk to a 17.5% friend/family member Other (please specify) 7.7% 0 200 400 600 800 1000
  14. 14. While many respondents use a variety of tools to manage their safe foods, a significant number of respondents said they just rely on their memory. How do you keep track of which foods/recipes are safe? (Check all that apply) 6.8% 38.3% I keep it in a notebook/diary 43.1% Keep info on my mobile phone I save info on my computer I always use a 38.5% certain website 5.7% Other (please specify)
  15. 15. in-store, we see respondents work from memory, but several mention that they re-read the label every time they select an item to check if the ingredients have changed. How do you keep track of which foods/recipes are safe? (Check all that apply) 6.9% 14.6% 17.0% I use my mobile phone 6.4% I have a notebook/list of foods that I carry with me From memory 87.3% I do not use any tools Other (please specify)
  16. 16. 34% of respondents find it difficult to find safe foods; 24% find it easy. How difficult is it find safe foods/recipes? 1200 1000 7.9% 16.5% 800 I use my mobile phone I have a notebook/list of 600 31.7% foods that I carry with me From memory 400 I do not use any tools 29.4% Other (please specify) 200 14.5% 0 Please rank
  17. 17. 60% of respondents think major food companies provide inadequate information; 13% think they do a good job. In your opinion, do major food companies provide the necessary information for people with food allergies and sensitivities? 350 32.9% 300 26.9% 26.8% 250 200 150 11.3% 100 50 2.1% 0 5 4 3 2 1 No, they do not provide Yes, they do adequate information an excellent job
  18. 18. Only two brands, Bob’s red mill and Enjoy Life Foods, scored over 50%, but Amy’s Kitchen and trader Joe’s brands were not far behind. Of the food majors, General mills was most highly rated with 30% of respondents acknowledging that they did a good job in this area. Which of the following companies below do a good job of providing safe foods and accurate labelling? (Check all that apply) Bob’s Red Mill 18.7% Enjoy Life Foods 6.9% * Amy’s Kitchen 19.9% Trader Joes 21.7% General Mills 22.0% Annie’s Homegrown Kraft Foods 24.2% 54.1% Cherrybrock Kitchen Silk 30.3% Kellogg 30.8% 50.2% Other (*Avg. of other brands mentioned) 47.6%
  19. 19. the top 20 safe food brands and products people purchase on a regular basis. Bob's Red Mill Bob's Red Mill 135 135 Enjoy Life Foods Enjoy Life Foods 126 126 Amy’s Kitchen Amy’s Kitchen 98 98 General Mills General Mills 64 64 Glutino Glutino 58 58 Trader Joe’s Trader Joe’s 58 58 Kraft Kraft 46 46 Udi's Udi's 43 43 Silk Silk 41 41 Kellogg’s (including Kashi) Kellogg’s (including Kashi) 39 39 Pamela’s Products Pamela’s Products 39 39 Annie’s Homegrown Annie’s Homegrown 28 28 Kinnikinnick Kinnikinnick 28 28 Betty Crocker Betty Crocker 23 23 Orgran Natural Foods Orgran Natural Foods 22 22 Tinkyada Tinkyada 22 22 Cherrybrook Farms Cherrybrook Farms 21 21 Ener-G Foods Ener-G Foods 21 21 Heinz Heinz 18 18 Birds Eye Birds Eye 16 16
  20. 20. 68% of respondents cited favorite stores they like to shop at – Whole Foods dominates.
  21. 21. most people do not have any specific online resource to turn to when they want to check if a food is safe. For those who do, it tends to be an allergen-specific site. Are there specific websites that you like to use when checking whether or not a food is safe? 20.9% 79.1% No Yes (please specify)
  22. 22. 73% of people affected share safe foods and recipes with friends, family, or online. Do you share information about safe foods and recipes with others? 18.4% 17.2% 1.4% Yes, I often share recipes 7.0% with friends and family Yes, I share my recipes and info on websites and forums No, because my information is not relevant to other people 56.0% No, because I do not like to share information Other (please specify)
  23. 23. About Food Content Alerts is a free online and mobile application that helps consumers with food sensitivities to manage their personal data. The site lets users organize a world of fragmented information via the creation of a personal sensitivity profile, which allows users to search for recipes, build personalized shopping lists, and more. can also be accessed on the go via a mobile application. The site and app will revolutionize the way consumers navigate the world of food sensitivities and provide a unique targeted environment for advertisers. TAXI, New York (, conceived of and developed the site. The site was built in partnership with Stem Limited ( About tAxi TAXI Canada Inc. (, TAXI Inc. (, and TAXI Europe BV ( are companies with core expertise in Strategic Planning, Advertising, Design, Interactive, Relationship Marketing and Content. Founded in Montréal (1992), the agency’s offices include Toronto and TAXI 2 (1992, 2006), New York (2004), Calgary (2005), Vancouver (2007), and Amsterdam (2009). TAXI was named Canadian Agency of the Year by Marketing magazine in 2001 and 2005, and won Strategy magazine’s Agency of the Year award in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2008. TAXI New York in 2007 and 2008 won the O’Toole Award for Creative Excellence from the American Association of Advertising Agencies. Client assignments in Canada include TELUS Consumer Solutions, Pfizer’s VIAGRA, Burger King, Heineken, Canadian Tire, Reitmans Group, Bombardier, and Dairy Farmers of Canada. On the U.S. roster are New York Life, Blue Shield of California, Rail Europe Group, Metro International, Clearwire, and New Holland Agriculture. TAXI Europe clients include KPN Royal Dutch Telecom International, Heineken, TNT Post, BNP Paribas, ING, and the Hi and Telfort telecommunications brands.
  24. 24. APPENDIX
  25. 25. rESPONDENt PrOFiLE 69% were between the ages of 25 and 49 89% were female 89% white 68% use the Internet 11 hours or more per week 97% use the Internet at home 45% had a household income of < $49 K, while 66% had a household income of < $74 K Geographic location: n=727