All You Need to Know About Catering for Special Diets


All You Need to Know About Catering for Special Diets

In the UK, it is currently estimated that approximately 2 million people live with a food allergy of some kind. This doesn’t account for the number of people with food intolerances or specific lifestyle choices that prohibit certain foods, which is also similarly high. 

While you may not have a dietary requirement yourself, there is a high chance that someone you know does. If you’re responsible for arranging catering for business lunches, office meetings, corporate events or general team-building occasions, and you haven’t had to cater for unique dietary requirements yet, you will likely have to before long. 

However, if you can demonstrate inclusion and provide nutritious catering food for multiple diets, it’ll show your employees and guests how seriously you consider this prevalent issue.

Common Types of Dietary Requirements

There are numerous types of food diets which mean people either voluntarily or involuntarily cannot consume certain food groups. They vary from person to person.

Whether this is due to a risk of an allergic reaction, religious reasoning or purely a lifestyle decision, it is crucial to understand the significance of each one.

Some of the most common food and beverage diets include

  • Dairy-free and lactose-free
  • Gluten-free and coeliac
  • Nut allergies (including peanut allergies)
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan

Outside of the most common restrictions listed above, you may encounter some people who have ‘irregular’ allergies to certain foods, for example, onion, mango or avocado. If you’re unsure whether these can be accounted for when ordering sharing platters, sandwich platters or canapes, it’s worth speaking to your catering company.

In the UK, it’s common for people to be gluten or dairy intolerant, or have an allergy to either. But what’s the difference between an intolerance and an allergy to one particular food group?

Differences Between Allergies and Intolerances

A food intolerance is not the same as a food allergy.

  • A food allergy is an immediate reaction to certain foods or even traces. The symptoms vary in severity but can range from swelling and itching to full-blown anaphylactic shock.
  • A food intolerance does not instigate an allergic reaction in a person and is therefore not life-threatening. The symptoms of a reaction are gradual, usually if you eat a substantial amount.


[NB: This information is for educational purposes only and should not substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Before starting or making any diet changes, you should consult a medical professional.]



The Green Bike Food Company are corporate caterers in Reading, providing a wide range of nutritious food across multiple cuisines. 

Even by looking at our online menu, you’ll be able to filter down the many food choices by specific dietary requirement, giving you all the products available to order that cater to individual or multiple restrictions.

If you have severe allergies, please let us know when you order food platters or buffet items from our menu.

Gluten-Free or Coeliac Catering

Gluten is a mixture of proteins commonly found in rye, wheat and barley. Common foods containing gluten include breads, pastries, pasta, couscous, baked goods and any food containing flour. 

There are easy substitutes for regular flour-based products, with gluten-free catering available. 

Conversely, coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition where the proteins in gluten attack intestinal tissue and stomach lining. Consuming gluten can result in serious side effects, so caution is advised.

Dairy-Free and Lactose-Free Catering

Like gluten, there are both dairy allergies and intolerances. 

A dairy allergy is an autoimmune response and can be life-threatening, often caused by consuming proteins like whey, albumin and casein.

Meanwhile, a dairy intolerance is a gastrointestinal reaction to lactose, the enzyme found in dairy products. The intolerance occurs when there is no lactase present to digest lactose from food and drinks.

Vegetarian and Vegan Catering

A vegetarian diet is meat-free but will include animal products such as milk, yoghurt, cream, cheese or eggs. While veganism involves abstaining from any animal products whatsoever, including byproducts. 

While these diets are predominantly moral choices, they can be good options for people with specific food allergies. 

Professional, Eco-Friendly Corporate Catering for All Dietary Requirements

Hopefully, the above has given you more insight into catering for specific dietary requirements. It’s important to be inclusive but crucial to ensure that the food you order will not pose a health risk to anybody in your company.

At the Green Bike Food Company, we take great care to deliver delicious food that’s controlled, hygienic and, most importantly, enjoyable. 

We offer a wide range of cost-effective solutions for businesses in Reading requiring unique corporate catering options, including executive Bento trays, healthy buffet options, and sandwich or wrap platters, all of which can cater to individual dietary requirements.

If you need specific breakfast or lunch catering services for your business and our menu doesn’t list what you’re looking for, give us a call on 0118 975 8198, and we’ll be happy to discuss creating a bespoke option.

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