In 2019 I had a severe allergic reaction and ambulance ride with suspected anaphylaxis, it changed my life forever. I was scared to eat out, I thought I would die. Since then I have had the allergy sufferer's perspective, and see how it impacts all aspects of life, work, school, holidays, friendships, allergy sufferers are largely excluded. It seems unfair. Food businesses also underestimate the size of this market. Vegans are often excluded too, the over lap is a clean vegan option (guaranteed no contamination) and is relatively rare (because its difficult to achieve and involves a lot of legislation/compliance expertise) but could serve so many people, including people with health conditions or religious groups that have specific dietary requirements (avoid animal products). This option would be the Inclusive Option.
In 2020 lockdown 1.0 I started my book journey. It has been a extraordinary experience interviewing over 50 contributors of experts, industry professionals and gaining customer insight. I aim to spread awareness of dietary preferences and how to include more people.
DESCRIPTION This book is a tool and resource to demonstrate to food service businesses how many people they are currently neglecting. It will inspire and motivate them to see that they are leaving money on the table when they exclude minority groups. It will improve customer experience and loyalty thus sales and revenue. It translates the lack of awareness into risk, such as risk of complaints, litigation, or allergy incidents (or bad press). It demonstrates what to do to protect and grow their brand and reputation, as well as capitalize on currently exploding niche markets. They will not want to be the one left out! The first step is mindset. Many businesses are excluding people innocently naïve to the opportunities, as this book challenges the status quo.
READERS LEARN HOW TO... Communicate, serve and manage more customers safely and confidently whilst delivering outstanding customer service and growing business and profits. Standing out against the competition.
BOOK VISION: This book's message should further the vegan cause (plus plant-based, vegetarian and flexitarian causes) and allow allergy sufferers and other dietary preferences more choice so they can be safely included when eating out. Each year these minorities get bigger! More vegans, more allergy sufferers, more people with problems with gluten, more people reducing meat consumption (55% of the UK population). The book creates a logical argument, and provides resources to help food businesses see the opportunity in these niche markets, learn more about them, rather than using blanket disclaimers (such as "may contain" milk or egg or "traces of"), turning people away and excluding them. They don't know to consider them. A lot of the content in this book is to show businesses they don't know, what they don't know. They don't know to consider these groups, they many not even know they exist.
IT IS EXCLUSIVE TO BE INCLUSIVE as not many options are available to people with dietary preferences when they eat out. Vegans, allergy sufferers and other health related or religious diets wish to avoid animal product contamination. My background in food safety can reassures them, with examples and experiences, how to improve food safety so serving dietary preferences becomes their unique selling point and a free marketing opportunity without increasing risk or changing their concept. E.g. cook products in a separate fryer or on a separate grill to meat, fish or milk or egg products, staff training, information needed from suppliers, but most of all clear communication in the supply chain and with the consumer. These animal products (and shellfish) are also the top food allergies (in the UK and abroad). This book encourages the clean vegan option, the green option, the pro-climate and inclusive option.
By supporting this cause, more books can be printed and sent directly to the food service industry, or even vegan restaurants can benefit, dietary preference friendly restaurants may expand their customer base too. Help businesses to be more inclusive (obviously without changing their ethics, concept or other unique selling points).
By donating to this business you are helping to spread the word of Inclusivity, improve food safety and make people feel better and included. Much of this advice is above and beyond the usual food safety compliance advice, and instead talks about people from minority groups being businesses' best customers. It's a fresh new perspective, particularly in response to the climate crisis, health crisis and allergy crisis. A clean/green/vegan option promotes all those things. It also promotes people caring about each other, the planet and providing excellent customer service. Help me be seen by the industry, produce a free online course and network my book.
If you cannot afford to donate, please share my crowdfunding pages with your networks, there are many businesses which serve food in some way, that can benefit from hearing about inclusivity.
Inclusivity - "The practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as minority groups."
James Lipscombe - CEO & Owner of The Chesterford Group.
“Heather has made us think about the impact our business has on the world we live in and through her extensive knowledge, the action we need to take to offer sustainable, plant-based menu alternatives.”
Director at Hayfields Consultancy Ltd - UK's only Vegan Consultant, (Free from, BRCGS, Retailers SME).
“This book looks at the impossible, yet not so impossible task of inclusivity. Rather than scare the industry to submission, Heather's book teaches us the possibility of attracting a bigger audience where safety is the selling point. Heather is a unique and original thinker, using her years of industry experience to shed new light and optimism onto a subject the bravest ignore. Please read this book it will change lives.”
Muhammad Asif – CEO of Main Course Associates, Hospitality Industry Specialists in Financial, Accounting and Management Support.
"Heather has insightful, multidisciplinary and on trend innovative advice in safety with a focus on improving our competitive edge and confidence. She has advised us regarding adaptation to the Covid restrictions and inclusivity which matches changing market needs and priorities. I have enjoyed our consultations and recommend Heather highly as a pioneer in her niche, her input has been invaluable."
It's really a customer service thing, caring about people and seeing how that goodwill grows businesses and profits.
The book is full of expert opinions, marketing tips and details about dietary preferences. It is a form of "edutainment" (education and entertainment). I try to keep the technical jargon to a minimum.
Thank you for reading my story and my passion.
P.S If you do not want to donate, please do share my Crowdfunder on social media, invite people working with food in any capacity to my Facebook group or to my Linkedin.