MIDCOUNTIES Co-op has launched an in-store campaign focusing on allergy-free shopping.
Leaflets give advice on specific allergy concerns, for example milk, eggs, nuts, wheat, soyabeans, fish and shellfish, which make up about 90 per cent of all food allergies.
Midcounties Co-op – the society formed as a result of the merger between Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester and West Midlands – has campaigned on health-related issues for more than 20 years and believes the service is needed as food allergy affects approximately one in four people at some time in their lives.
The campaign is running in 150 Midcounties Co-op stores until 12 February, however information will also be available after this date.
The information packs have been produced in conjunction with dietitians from the NHS Primary Care Trust and can be tailored depending on customers' particular food allergy or their non-allergic food hypersensitivity (food intolerance).
Steve Moralee, brand manager from Midcounties Co-op, said: "Having spoken to our customers and members, our store managers have identified a need for allergy guidance which is clear and easy to understand with all the facts and figures you need.
"We also supply lists of all our own-brand products which contain ingredients which people with food allergies and food intolerances need to be aware of. We also point out that randomly
removing foods can cause an unbalanced diet and people should seek advice from their doctor first."
The participating stores are in Oxfordshire, Swindon and Gloucestershire, West Midlands, Worcestershire and Shropshire.
Ellie Clifford, dietitian from the Community Nutrition and Dietetic Department at Oxford Primary Care Trust, said: "It is important to avoid unnecessary dietary restrictions.
"The information in this guide will help customers to find suitable foods to replace those they may have to avoid. This will help to achieve an unrestrictive, varied diet, not lacking in essential nutrients."