How to Plan Ahead for Food Allergies at Your Conference

What planners need to know when catering to attendees' dietary needs.

Being an event planner with food allergies can be a blessing and a curse, I know. I also know the ins and outs of sitting on both sides of the table or on opposite sides of the kitchen door. It helps me when I'm planning and evaluating menus for clients, but it also gives me an acute sense of how ignorant our industry is about food allergies.

Nobody gets it, except those who have to eat "free-from" (a term for food and drink without one or more ingredients that some eaters are allergic to or have an intolerance of), or have friends and family who do.

As a food-allergic person, I don't just want the meals I eat when I travel for work to be safe for me -- I want them to be substantive and tasty, as well. But eating at events is often very challenging and stressful. We are counting on the person managing registration to communicate our needs correctly to the catering team, and we must rely on someone we will most likely never meet to prepare our meals.

Read the full story, complete with tips for managing food allergies at events, at