How Natasha’s Law Sparked Innovation in Vending

Pioneering British company Healthy Nibbles, has launched an innovative solution within vending to support those with food allergies, sparked by the recent enforcement of Natasha’s Law.

On 1st October Natasha’s Law was enforced; significant progress in the UK food industry for those with allergies following the tragic death of 15-year old girl, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse. Natasha had purchased a baguette from a coffee shop in Heathrow Airport, not knowing it contained sesame seeds to which she was extremely allergic. An estimated two million people in the UK are living with diagnosed food allergies.

Identifying the challenge of using a vending machine, where those with allergies cannot access essential nutritional and allergen information prior to purchase, Healthy Nibbles has introduced a new ‘14 allergen safe’ search function across their national fleet of vending machines. On approach to the machine, the consumer is invited to search the product range via their dietary requirement. On selecting ‘14 allergen safe’ products are presented in a scrollable list, with further ingredient and nutritional information available if required. This function sits alongside other innovative solutions such as the wheelchair user friendly option, whereby the touchscreen information is positioned in the lower section of the touch screen, and the delivery bins raises to aid product retrieval.

Furthermore, Healthy Nibbles also has tested Product Recall protocols – if contamination in any of the available brands was discovered, the entire fleet of vending machines can be shut down within 10 seconds.

The new functionality sits alongside other product developments across the Healthy Nibbles range, including a Free From Range of snack boxes.

Company founder Sara Roberts said: “Healthy Nibbles is committed to making the healthy choice the easiest and most accessible choice.

“With the number of people suffering from food allergies on the increase, we felt that we could be doing more. We are excited to launch the UK’s first allergy-safe vending solution and free-from snack box, making snacking more inclusive.”

Founder of Creative Nature and Anaphylaxis/Teal Campaign Ambassador Julianne Ponan said:

“As a person who has lived with severe allergies my whole life to peanuts, tree nuts, sesame and many more, the Healthy Nibbles solution is perfect in allowing me to find new snacks that I wouldn’t have thought about before, whilst making sure they are delivered safely for me to enjoy.”

“I am so glad that Creative Nature is one of the chosen brands in both the vending machines and snack boxes. Our bars and Gnawbles make it easy for all to enjoy delicious food without any ‘may contains’.”

What is Natasha’s Law?

Behind the new legislation is the story of a 15-year old girl, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who tragically died due to a severe allergic reaction during a flight from London to Nice in 2016. She had purchased a baguette from a coffee shop in Heathrow Airport, not knowing it contained sesame seeds to which she was extremely allergic. Until recently, the law had a loophole that allowed poor labelling, tragically causing the death of Natasha who suffered several cardiac arrests during her flight. After losing their daughter, Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse decided to campaign for new legislation to prevent anyone else from meeting the same fate as Natasha.

Natasha’s Law will now protect millions of people in the UK who have food allergies and worry for their health when eating. According to Natasha’s parents, the new law will increase transparency about what people are eating and give them the confidence to buy food items that are prepacked, without having to gamble with their life.

The 14 Allergens

Celery, Cereals containing gluten, Crustaceans, Eggs, Fish, Lupin, Milk, Molluscs, Mustard, Peanuts, Sesame, Soybeans, Sulphur dioxide and sulphites, Tree nuts

Allergy Facts (https://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/information-training/facts-and-figures/)

– In the UK, 1-2% of adults have a food allergy. This, combined with the 5-8% of children with a food allergy, equates to about 2 million people. This figure doesn’t include those with food intolerances. This means the actual number of affected people living with food allergy and/or food intolerance is considerably more. (Food Standards Agency 2016)

– The United Kingdom has one of the highest incidences of allergy in the world (Nwaru, Hickstein et al. 2014)

– Up to 11% , or 7 million people, have allergies severe enough to require specialist allergy care (BSACI 2011)

– 13 million people below the mid-forties have 2 or more allergies (Allergy The Unmet Need, 2003)

– An estimated 21.3 million adults (33%) in the UK suffer from at least one allergy (Mintel, 2010)

– An estimated 10 million adults suffer from more than one allergy (Mintel, 2010)

– Over 150 million people have allergies in Europe, the most common chronic disease (EAACI, 2014)

– Allergy is a chronic disease that is expected to affect more than 50% of all Europeans by 2025 (EAACI, 2015)

– Allergic diseases are affecting the lives of more than one billion people worldwide. With an epidemic rise during the last 60 years, their prevalence is expected to reach up to 4 billion in 2050s