Nick Miller talks about the benefits of adding a gluten free offering to the menu at Millers as well as teaming up with Coeliac UK to achieve official accreditation
It’s Coeliac Awareness week next month, taking place 14th – 20th May. If you haven’t already made the move to serving gluten free fish and chips, or considered adding it to your menu, we can certainly confirm that there are some great reasons to do so! Even better, there’s loads of support available from the Food Standards Agency and the amazing team at Coeliac UK, who can provide you with all the information needed to ensure you’re preparing gluten free foods in the safest possible environment.
If you’d told me two years ago that one day gluten free fish and chips would be one of our best-selling menu options, I wouldn’t have believed you! We originally made the decision to introduce gluten free options in 2016 after many of our customers told us some of their friends and family had never been able to enjoy fish and chips due to coeliac disease.
We felt that we were in a fantastic position to try and do something about that and decided to invest in a separate fryer specifically for gluten free cooking. Very soon after adding gluten free options to the menu, we were visited by a little girl who had never had fish and chips in her life. To see her finally share the meal with her mum and enjoy it so much was amazing. This, along with the amount of positive feedback we received, certainly made us re-evaluate our approach to free-from options.
As demand for our gluten free fish and chips continued to grow, we wanted to spread the word about how important it is to offer free-from options that your customers can really trust. Alongside the positive feedback received, our customers highlighted the fact that although many food outlets claim to offer gluten free foods, many do not follow the specially designed strict health and hygiene rules to effectively safeguard against traces of gluten being present in the final dish. With this in mind, we decided to get in touch with Coeliac UK – the official body who provide accreditation for the preparation of gluten free foods in a safe environment. We felt obtaining this accreditation would help reassure those customers who had previously had bad experiences, that we take every necessary step to provide gluten free options they can trust.
Obtaining the accreditation was a win-win for us and our customers suffering with coeliac disease. Not only does it provide extra reassurance for customers, with a logo they can trust prominently displayed, we have also benefited from the added marketing value. It is now recognised as a key part of our offer, Millers is listed on the Coeliac UK national website, and we feel like we’ve demonstrated our commitment to making sure as many people as possible can enjoy delicious fish and chips!
Our gluten free options have been so successful with customers that we’ve had to expand our operation to three standalone fryers. In our opinion, it’s well-worth it, especially given the number of customers who struggle with gluten intolerance, or follow other restricted diets being on the rise.
Of course, there are many factors to consider if you are considering offering gluten free options but with more customers requesting these products than ever before, it might be time to consider it. There’s a whole host of information available on the subject, but if you’d like to find out more about the practical steps involved, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for a chat. And look out for the Miller’s vlog for May, which will focus on gluten free.