Bakkavor factory workers hold tray of bread rolls

Source: Bakkavor

Bakery suppliers are stepping up on allergen management amidst Allergen Awareness Week, which runs from 22 to 28 April 2024.

This year’s theme, ‘Your voice matters: make it count,’ underscores the crucial role of community and dialogue in tackling the challenges presented by food allergies.

Country Choice, which supplies in-store bakery items to the convenience sector, is among those to have taken action and has appointed an ambassador for allergen awareness.

Technical manager Kerry Primarolo will take on the additional responsibilities, which will see her provide training to colleagues so they can help customers to identify best practice in allergen compliance. She will also be producing a series of short videos aimed at improving knowledge around allergens and their importance when preparing food in-store.

Country Choice described the role as ‘pivotal’ in educating and supporting convenience retailers to ensure that they are compliant with Natasha’s Law, which was introduced in October 2021.

A smiling blonde woman in a black top

Source: Country Choice

Kerry Primarolo

Primarolo will support sales colleagues who engage with convenience retailers to enhance their understanding of Natasha’s Law, guiding them through the necessary steps to ensure compliance.

“We are excited to have Kerry spearheading our efforts to make convenience retailers more aware of Natasha’s Law,” said Paul Nieduszynski, CEO at Sysco GB, which owns Country Choice.

“Kerry’s expertise and passion for food safety will undoubtedly contribute to a safer and more informed environment for consumers and retailers alike. At Country Choice we recognise the importance of collaboration and, along with parent company Sysco GB, are proud to be a strategic partner of the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation.”

Food-to-go manufacturer Bakkavor, meanwhile, has reaffirmed its ongoing partnership with the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation which champions significant advancements in food allergy research and safety. 

Following its announcement in 2023 that the group was doubling its support for the Foundation, the company has successfully raised over £20,000 through additional charity events.

“Our approach to allergen management is a core business priority,” said Bakkavor CEO Mike Edwards. “As the UK’s leading food manufacturer, Bakkavor is keen to shape a safer future that will benefit everyone. It was a huge pleasure to meet Nadim once again, and welcome him to our leadership conference in February, thereby strengthening our ongoing relationship and reinforcing our commitment to allergen safety as a business.”

Edwards added that the work the Foundation does is “incredibly impressive” and has the potential to “significantly impact the world of food manufacturing positively”.

The Natasha Clinical Trial, for example, explores cost-effective treatments for food allergies through oral immunotherapy. Bakkavor highlighted recent studies that suggest that if no action is taken, two-thirds of the UK population could suffer from a food allergy by 2060*, with a notable increase in children affected and hospital admissions related to allergies.

“We are proud to continue our support for the Foundation as a long-term charity partner and to make this organisation a focus of our fundraising efforts,” Edwards said.