The awareness-raising charity says there is still not enough choice in free-from foods. It advocates better education and clearer labelling to help the industry serve the needs of the public better and clarify misunderstanding.
"We need to do a lot more work with food manufacturers," said Maureen Jenkins, director of clinical services at Allergy UK. "We want to ensure there's a wider range of products on retailers' shelves to cater for allergies and intolerances."
Allergy UK figures cite a 700% rise in hospital admissions for anaphylaxis and a 500% rise in admissions for food allergies.
Jenkins quoted from a paper released by the European Academy for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) last month: Research needs in allergy a EAACI position paper. It described allergies as "a major public health threat" that would still rise at "an alarming rate" as long as our "sterilised" lifestyle is sustained.
"If allergies continue to rise at this rate, it will be one in two people in 15 years' time," said Jenkins.
The number and diversity of allergen-free products appearing on the market has increased to meet demand. This was evident at this year's FreeFrom Food Awards. Michelle Berriedale-Johnson, chair of the judges, noted a shift from staples, such as bread, pasta, cakes and cereals, to ready meals and convenience products. This category had more than 50 entries, up from 10 in previous years.
One allergen-free ingredients supplier, EHL Ingredients has reported "phenomenal sales" of allergen-free ingredients, including a 35% increase in sales of its allergen-free curry powder and a 30% rise in demand for its allergen-free seasoning.
EHL said cross-contamination was the biggest challenge in producing allergen-free food. "For example, ensuring allergen-free garlic powder might be difficult if crops have been rotated and the field had previously been used to grow, say, wheat, which contains gluten," said EHL's sales director, Tasneem Backhouse.
Despite witnessing an "incredible" number of manufacturers jumping on "the allergen-free bandwagon", Jenkins said there was a need for more basic products. "Often it is the simple everyday foods that sufferers are looking for," she said.
"Although we are seeing more choice on the market, the biggest ranges are often only online. Foods that can be picked up with the weekly shop would make what is a difficult job for food allergy and intolerance sufferers much easier."
She says there is still a poor grasp of the difference between, say, wheat-free and gluten-free foods.
Defensive labelling was a major issue, she claimed, suggesting that the plethora of 'may contain' labels was making consumers blasé about the seriousness of the label.
Mintel's head of UK food, drink and foodservice research, Kiti Soininen said the free-from food market had "far from reached its potential. Holding it back are price, perceptions of taste and the absence of recognisable brands; none of which are insurmountable."
Mintel expects the market for meat-free and free-from food to grow by 44% over 201116, to a total of £1.25bn in 2016.