A fifth of adults claim they suffer from a food allergy or intolerance, but evidence has suggested less than 2% actually do, according to new research commissioned by the Flour Advisory Bureau (FAB). The report, carried out by the University of Portsmouth, also revealed that over half the population believe wheat allergy is a common illness. Yet confirmed cases of wheat allergies are less common than, for example, peanut, egg or milk allergies. "Those living alone and those aged 35-44 were most likely to report such an allergy," said the FAB.

"Only 1.4-1.8% of UK adults are allergic to any food and wheat allergies are less prevalent. So many people are avoiding wheat unnecessarily, which may have an adverse impact on their nutritional intake," said Dr Heather Mackenzie, one author of the new Wheat Hypersensitivity Report.