It’s officially summer when the festival season rolls around!
It can be fair to say that festivals may not be everybody’s cup of tea. In fact, some people may actually prefer to grab that cup of tea and sit with their feet up whilst watching 100,000 people bop along to summer anthems on the TV.
People who suffer from food intolerances, such as common trigger foods like cow’s milk, wheat and gluten intolerance, may shy away from tent-filled festivities in fear that there might not be any food alternatives to indulge in.
Fear not! Festivals are becoming much more food-savvy and, with the rise of veganism, you can expect to not fall short on free-from options.
We’ve rounded up 5 ways to prepare for a festival if you have a food intolerance.
Plan in advance
When it comes to food intolerances and quick snacks, sometimes it’s better to take matters into your own hands rather than relying on food outlets in the muddy field. If you’re gluten, wheat or dairy intolerant, some great snack options to take in your luggage could be dried fruits, nuts, free-from chocolate, crisps (check to see if they are free from gluten and wheat) and protein bars – we recommend Trek bars for an energy boost.
Packing an abundance of mini snacks in your luggage means you are well equipped to keep the hunger at bay if you start to get a little peckish or you’re waiting in the crowd before the next music act comes on the stage.
Have a look around when you first get there
The festival buzz can be overwhelming as soon as you pass the ticket gates. All you want to do is build your tent as quickly as possible and head out to see what’s around.
Use this opportunity to see what food vendors there are in the field. If you’re dairy intolerant, keep your eyes on places who specialise in vegan food. Of course – if you’re gluten or wheat intolerant, you could choose a naked burger or hot dog and load it with salad and sauces, but make sure you’re confident that your trigger foods aren’t hidden in the meal you opt for.
By law, restaurants and takeaways must disclose allergen information. However, when it comes to food stalls, the guidelines can be a little hazy which means extra care must be taken.
Contact the organisers and check the re-entry rules
Prior to the event, it might be worthwhile to contact the venue and ask what food options will be available. Make sure you leave plenty of time for a response, as nearer to the event they will be inundated with requests from the media and other customer-related enquiries.
If there are limited or no food options available, check the re-entry rules to the festival. You might be able to leave the venue to hunt down a café or restaurant that will suit your dietary requirements much better.
Spread the word
Picture this: you are hungry after a long day walking between stages and enjoying all the music. You come across a small stall which offers free-from food at an affordable price. You try the food and it’s heavenly – so, what do you do? Do you keep this food stall your free-from secret or do you shout your discovery from the rooftops?
We vote the latter. If you’ve sampled some free-from goodies, we recommend spreading the word through social media, for example. Not only does this help other people who could be in the same position as you, but it also gives the business new custom. Who knows, they could be back at the same festival next year due to overwhelming demand.
Here at YorkTest, we understand the impact word of mouth can bring. Did you know 1 out of 3 customers had been referred to YorkTest through a recommendation last year alone*?
Spreading the word can be powerful, even if it’s just through an Instagram post.
Have a back-up option
If all these options fall through, try not to worry. You can still enjoy the festival. Fortunately, food intolerances can be distressing and, unlike food allergies, they are not fatal.
Though we don’t recommend eating your trigger foods, there could be a chance that you may have to choose something which may contain your intolerances if you have exhausted the options above.
Should this be the case, it would be wise to bring some home remedies with you which may help combat any negative symptoms associated with your trigger foods. For example, if you suffer from occasional diarrhoea, you may find temporary relief through store-bought drugs like Imodium, or anything that your GP has prescribed you.
Just be careful your medication doesn’t interfere with alcohol, if you choose to have a tipple or two in the field!
Have you discovered your trigger foods? If you’re planning to go to a festival and you’re concerned about tummy troubles or other symptoms which could be attributed to a food intolerance, why not take a programme† with YorkTest?