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Nut Allergies Changing Shopper Decisions

Approximately 3 million people report having allergies to peanuts and tree nuts, accounting for just over 0.9 percent of the overall population. Although this represents a small consumer segment, broader demographics can be affected by a single allergy sufferer, in turn impacting shopper behavior in the grocery store.

According to Rich Products Corp.'s "Nut Allergy Ecosystem Survey," of the 1,024 U.S. mothers polled, 56 percent indicated they have received warnings or guidelines from their child's school regarding nut allergies.

Due to the resulting concern, some 30 percent of respondents said a nut allergy has influenced a food product they have purchased, and 25 percent were deterred from providing snacks at an event due to nut allergies.

“In the spirit of National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, we wanted to take a closer look at the significant influence one individual with a peanut or tree nut allergy can have on others around them,” said Lauren Lopez, senior marketing manager of desserts at Rich Products.

“From anyone involved in children’s playdates and extracurricular activities," Lopez added, "the allergy ecosystem extends to parents, teachers, friends, colleagues, neighbors and relatives who have regular contact with individuals suffering from nut allergies.”

Kids also are missing out on snacks due to fear of nut allergies, the study finds. In fact, 17 percent of survey respondents have been reluctant to provide snacks for an event in the past due to concerns over nut allergies. Young mothers (under the age of 35) are particularly affected, with 22 percent being reluctant to provide snacks at all.

Clear food labeling is just as important with regard to nut allergy concerns, as evidenced by one in four mothers checking labels when purchasing food products that meet school requirements. And 27 percent check food labels as their first act in evaluating food products that meet school guidelines. 

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