Maine firm teaches restaurants gluten free
Portland, Maine--Expanding Horizons Food opens its doors on Tuesday. The local consulting firm aims to make restaurants more gluten and food allergy friendly. Molly Griffard, resident of South Portland, founded the firm to address a growing need for education on gluten and allergens in food service.
Expanding Horizons Food consults and trains restaurant staff on gluten and allergy free food service. Establishments that successfully complete the training program receive the “Excellence in Gluten Free Certified” designation, designed to help consumers recognize safe places to eat.
As a part of the program, the firm inspects each site, creating an inventory of major allergens and designing kitchen protocol to avoid cross contamination. The firm offers staff trainings, bringing all employees up to speed on America’s fastest growing food movement. The certification helps people on special diets stay healthy when eating out, and it also helps local businesses to attract guests who might otherwise eat at home.
Many Portland area restaurants are now offering gluten free (GF) options, including special pizza crusts, breads, and pastas. However, many of these restaurants are using the same cooking surfaces and utensils to prepare gluten free dishes. “That just doesn’t cut it for someone with celiac disease or a severe food allergy,” says Griffard.
“A little bit of knowledge about gluten can be a dangerous thing for restaurants. They know gluten free is popular, but if they don’t understand cross contamination issues, they are putting their gluten free guests at risk.” Griffard emphasizes that staff training should accompany any efforts to cater to the gluten free market.
While the economy may be to blame for a downturn in the restaurant industry, food allergies and intolerances are keeping some would-be restaurant patrons home. Paul Antico, a Boston financial analyst and father of children with food allergies, found that restaurants could increase revenue by 9% by becoming ‘food allergy friendly’.
Griffard, like 3 million Americans, has celiac disease, which can only be treated by keeping a strict gluten free diet. As more people are diagnosed with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, the market for specialty ‘GF’ foods is expected to reach $4.3 billion in the next five years. According to Griffard, restaurants have a lot of catching up to do if they wish to bring in this lucrative market.
“Food Allergy Sufferers boost your bottom line”
Expanding Horizons Food offers consulting and training specializing in the areas of gluten free, food allergy, and environmentally-friendly food service. Molly Griffard, founder and principal consultant, can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please visit Expanding Horizon Food’s website:
Expanding Horizons Food
541 Highland Avenue
South Portland, ME 04106
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