Asheville Independent Restaurants Strive To Create Gluten-Free Destination
ASHEVILLE, NC (April 7, 2011) – The community of Asheville Independent Restaurants is garnering support for positioning Asheville as a gluten-free destination with assistance and training from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. Representatives from the NFCA are conducting a Gluten-Free Resource Education and Awareness Training (GREAT) to AIR members and AB-Tech culinary students April 28 on the AB-Tech campus.
Sponsored by AIR, the training provides kitchens and food service industry professionals with tools to manage and master the gluten-free marketplace.
“Our industry is sensitive to the need to provide gluten-free menu items for those suffering from celiac disease,” said AIR President Steve Frabitore, “and we saw this training as important for our membership as well as for the AB-Tech students. With more awareness of this disease, there is a growing need for destinations to provide gluten-free dining options. This could be yet another reason to choose Asheville as a vacation destination.”
The NFCA reports the National Restaurant Association named gluten-free one of the top 10 industry trends for 2010, and also states that according to US News & World Report, 15 to 25 percent of consumers report looking for gluten-free products.
“Celiac disease is an auto-immune digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food,” said Whitney Ehret, Director of Communications for NFCA. “An estimated three million Americans have celiac disease, yet 95 percent remain undiagnosed, resulting in a four-fold increase in the risk of early death and numerous debilitating conditions including infertility, neuropathy, and even cancer,” she added.
“The only treatment is a life-long gluten-free diet. Left untreated, people with celiac disease can develop further complications such as other auto-immune diseases, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, and some cancers,” added Ehret.