Food companies focus on allergen-free products

The specialty snack market is growing as more doctors diagnose food allergies and people become increasingly aware of allergen-free food options. With more products being made, transportation companies could see additional requests to pick up shipments of diet-friendly foods from manufacturing facilities or warehouses and transport them to grocery chains and health food stores across the country. In some instances, schedules could become so busy that companies need to turn to route planning software to make the best use of available drivers and trucks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate between 4 and 6 percent of American children under age 18 have at least one food allergy. This number has been steadily increasing over the years and researchers aren't quite sure why it continues to rise. Some experts hypothesize over-sterilization and high use of antibiotics make young children more sensitive to common allergens, while others speculate how food is produced and grown plays a role in the skyrocketing numbers.

Transporting more food for those with dietary restrictions
According to the CDC, cow's milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soybeans and wheat are responsible for 90 percent of food allergy reactions. Because sensitivities to these foods is becoming more common, families are demanding special allergen-free foods, and many companies are rapidly trying to enter this market successfully. By creating foods that are free from wheat, nuts, cow's milk and other common allergens, these companies can tap new customers.

This market has grown exponentially in recent years, as the number of people diagnosed with food sensitivities rises and individuals are made increasingly aware of the dangers associated with ingesting food they may be allergic to. The availability of foods free from certain allergens has soared in recent years: The gluten-free products market is expected to maintain a compound annual growth rate of 10.2 percent and exceed $6.2 billion by 2018, according to a report from MarketsandMarkets.

As demand for snacks made for consumers with food allergies continues to grow, companies will need to not only meet production requirements but also ensure retailers have their product in stock. Fleets responsible for carrying allergen-free goods to supermarkets and convenience stores across the country will need to employ route optimization software to ensure the products are delivered in a timely fashion and their clients' products are readily available to shoppers.