To ensure its customers can order and enjoy their gluten-free pizza with confidence, HELL has invested in new equipment and training for each of its 70 stores across the country – meeting the strict guidelines required for accreditation under Coeliac New Zealand’s Dining Out Programme. It is the first national chain to become fully accredited in New Zealand.
Dining out is a pleasure many of us take for granted, but eating meals that aren’t prepared at home can be one of the biggest challenges for people living with coeliac disease.
Research by Coeliac New Zealand (CNZ) has found that gluten-free (GF) practices within the catering industry differ so widely that consumers can’t always trust a ‘GF’ label alone.
The Dining Out Programme (DOP) provides assurance that food has been prepared according to strict standards that virtually eliminate the presence of gluten.
“Gaining this accreditation was an essential part of our commitment to cater for customers with different dietary requirements,” says HELL general manager Ben Cumming. “Our franchisees are 100% behind the initiative and have invested significantly to become accredited.”
“We have always focused on catering for different dietary requirements, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free. For us, it’s about ensuring that our customers have confidence in us and our product – from free-range ingredients to gluten free.
“We already offer gluten-free bases – including our new sprouted seed base on the healthy pizza The Saviour – and we have always trained our staff to help customers modify their pizza with gluten-free ingredients. This is the next level. Our franchisees are proud to hold DOP accreditation and excited to spread the word among their customers.”
New tools and new techniques
All HELL kitchens and staff are now equipped with the tools and expertise required to meet DOP standards. This includes designated pizza trays, utensils and pizza cutters in every store, as well as carefully designed procedures in storage and preparation to avoid cross contamination.
Key staff must also complete and pass the 90-minute DOP online training course, while anyone involved in sourcing, preparing and serving GF food must be taught about coeliac disease and why best practice is important.
HELL stores are independently audited annually as a requirement of Coeliac New Zealand to ensure the strict procedures are being upheld.
Raising awareness and building confidence
“We are delighted that HELL is leading the way as one of the first national chains to become fully accredited under the Dining Out Programme,” said CNZ general manager Dana Alexander.
“In raising awareness and ensuring safe practices are met in the preparation of gluten-free food, the programme gives all diners the confidence to enjoy eating out already shared by non-sufferers. There is an investment to become accredited, but the results are safer and happier customers, as well as increased brand trust.”
About Dining Out
The Dining Out Programme provides education, training and support for the catering industry on GF best practice. It also provides an extra level of assurance for the GF consumer via an independent audit and trusted endorsement by CNZ.
The DOP is based on the UK accreditation programme, which has over 6,000 venues nationwide. Similar successful programmes also exist in Italy, Canada and Spain; these programmes are all internationally recognised.
About Coeliac disease
Coeliac disease (pronounced see-liac) is a serious autoimmune disease, which causes the body’s immune system to react to gluten found in food and attack the gut; it is not an allergy or intolerance.
Coeliac disease is permanent and has no cure. The only treatment is a strict GF diet for life.
It is estimated that 65,000 Kiwis have coeliac disease (1 in 70), although many are not medically diagnosed.