Allergies and food intolerances - how do they affect food shopping?

With food allergies and intolerances becoming increasingly common these days, we were interested to find out how being affected by one of these influenced the way in which you shopped. Did it mean extra time and hassle at the supermarket reading every label? Is there less choice? And what about the cost – do allergies or intolerances send food bills shooting up?

According to Cafestudy members, those of you with food allergies and intolerances do indeed have your work cut out when it comes to food shopping. Trying to avoid ingredients and keep the cost down are the two main issues. Grocery shopping for this group is also more time consuming because of the level of research needed to ensure you are buying the right products. Having to check things constantly is frustrating. As Gerry puts it...’checking things is a pain!’

When the labels are clear, things are easier, such as in the case of more common allergies like nut and gluten. However, the other big issue for you, the cost, is also a barrier with for example, many gluten free products being two or three times more expensive. Ziah describes her gluten-free breakfast cereal as a ‘rare treat’ because of the price. Others mention cutting out particular foods from their diet because the version they would need to buy is just too pricey.

So taking these things into account, how do they affect the way you shop for food? For a start, many of those of you with allergies and intolerances, not surprisingly, prefer to stick to your already tried and tested brands and products. According to you, this cuts down on time spent researching and label checking, as well as providing you with assurance that you can eat what you buy with no adverse effects. As wojo12 puts it, ‘rarely do I experiment because I prefer my current health than addressing an allergic reaction.’

A second group of those with allergies and food intolerances are taking a different approach to food shopping. Rather than buying specifically targeted products, you are instead going back to basics, buying fresh ingredients, and cooking everything from scratch; including everyday items such as stocks, bread and even yoghurt. Taking the approach that ‘fresh is best’ saves money and guarantees that you know exactly what is in everything you eat. For this group, the peace of mind achieved and money saved is worth the extra effort involved.

    Last reply: 18th Sep 2017 / 8 replies / Post by Cafestudy Admin

Member comments


Posted by: kuda
Posted: 30th Mar 2015

kuda says: I also find food shopping such a chore due to food intolerances and allergies with my 4 year old and myself being a diabetic Reply

wild one

Posted by: wild one
Posted: 30th Aug 2014

wild one says: My partner is both vegetarian and diabetic so shopping is a bit of a challenge. Checking food items to ensure there is no meat in them and also checking for sugar content is sometimes difficult because the labels aren't very clear and many products say they are sugar free but contain artificial sweeteners which don't taste the same as natural sugar. Vegetarian food is very expensive so we mainly stick to fresh vegetables and home cooking. Reply


Posted by: margaretjulia
Posted: 1st Sep 2014

margaretjulia says: I find it better not to eat gluten. Reading labels carefully enables me to buy routine foods that do not contain gluten and sometimes are less expensive than ones labelled "gluten Free". Reply


Posted by: margaretjulia
Posted: 4th Feb 2015

margaretjulia says: I replied earlier but I am now finding more and more of the gluten free products are sometimes on special. Last week Freedom Food cereals were half price at Coles. I buy in bulk when the goods I like are on special and that way can have a treat. Also Coles Yogurt is now gluten free which is a plus. Reply


Posted by: Mhairi
Posted: 8th Feb 2015

Mhairi says: With a number of food allergies and intolerances in our family shopping is a time consuming and headache inducing task. I have to read every label, compare ingredients to find the ones with the least amount of various items and then work out if it is worth the price.
Finally, I need to check our favourite item if the packaging every changes as I have found that this is a good indicator of a change in ingredients, however subtle the change may be. Reply


Posted by: annie
Posted: 29th Dec 2015

annie says: I have a daughter that has coeliac disease where she is intolerant to wheat so has to have a gluten free diet.When I go shopping I have to make sure the label shows no wheat products are available. Reply


Posted by: Bigfoot
Posted: 22nd Aug 2016

Bigfoot says: The second group are certainly heading in the right direction, however, my thoughts as an amateur are that these intolerances are brought about by the many additives put into our foods. I also think that these same additives account for the greatly increased height of our children/grandchildren. Reply


Posted by: Sannee
Posted: 18th Sep 2017

Sannee says: I do spend a lot of time checking labels for new food options (but only if I have the time to spend). Having three kids with behavioural issues made worse with artificial colours and flavours makes things more of a challenge. I like to make some things fresh, but don't always have the time, so label checking is a necessary task. It is getting harder though as my eyesight declines - often the ingredient lists are too small to read easily. If there are too many or too small to read it gets put back on the shelf! Reply

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