Food Allergies are a Significant Health Concern Affecting a Considerable Portion

Anurag Sharma
Anurag Sharma

Updated · Oct 19, 2023

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According to Food Allergy Statistics, Food allergies are common health conditions that occur when the immune system reacts abnormally to certain foods. When a person with food allergy ingests or comes into contact with allergenic food, their immune system perceives it as harmful and triggers an allergic reaction. The se reactions can change from mild discomfort to severe and life-threatening symptoms.

Editor’ Choice

  • It is generally accepted that food allergy affects approximately 2.5% of the general population.
  • The prevalence of food allergy varies widely, ranging from 1% to 10%.
  • In European birth cohorts, the incidence of food allergy ranges from 2.18% (United Kingdom) to 0.07%
  • Approximately 40% of individuals with food allergies report experiencing a severe allergic reaction due to unintentional consumption of allergenic food.
  • Globally, an estimated 220-250 million people have food allergies.
  • Food allergies affect approximately 5-8% of children worldwide.
  • Around 1-2% of adults have food allergies.
  • Approximately 2-3% of young children have a milk allergy.
  • Shellfish allergy affects roughly 2-3% of adults.
  • Anaphylaxis related to food allergies accounts for a significant number of emergency room visits, affecting approximately 30,000 individuals in the United States annually.

Prevalence of Food Allergies

  • Allergy Diagnostics Market was valued at US$ 1,732.6 Mn and is projected to increase significantly at a CAGR of 12% by 2026
  • Food allergy is estimated to affect approximately 2-4% of adults and 5-8% of children worldwide.
  • In the United States, about 9% of adults and 8% of children have a food allergy.
  • Prevalence rates in European countries range from 2% to 10%, varying by region and population studied.
  • It is estimated that around 10% of infants, 4-8% of children, and 2-3% of adults in Australia have food allergies.
  • Reported prevalence rates in Asia range from 1% to 10%, with variations among different countries.
  • Cow milk allergy affects about 0.5-3% of infants and young children globally.
  • Egg allergy prevalence is around 0.5-2% in young children.
  • Peanut allergy affects approximately 0.5-2% of children and adults.
  • The prevalence of tree nut allergies ranges from 0.5% to 2% in different populations.
  • Shellfish allergy is estimated to affect about 0.5-2% of the general population.

Most Common Food Allergens


  • Milk allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children.
  • Approximately 2-3% of young children have a milk allergy.
  • In the United States, the estimated prevalence of milk allergy is around 0.5-1% among adults.
  • Around 80% of children with a milk allergy will outgrow it by the age of 5.


  • Approximately 1-2% of young children have an egg allergy.
  • About 70% of children with an egg allergy outgrow it by the age of 16.
  • It is estimated that 70-80% of children with an egg allergy can tolerate well-cooked eggs (such as in baked goods), and they may not need to strictly avoid chicken meat.


  • Prevalence estimates of peanut allergy in children range from 1% to 2% in various populations.
  • Only about 20% of children with a peanut allergy are likely to outgrow it.
  • Peanut allergy forms around 28% of all food allergies in children.
  • In about half of the cases, peanut allergy develops before the child reaches their first birthday.
  • The development of peanut allergy rarely occurs after 15 years of age, accounting for only 7% of cases.

Tree nuts

  • The prevalence of tree nut allergies ranges from less than 1% to approximately 3% worldwide.
  • The reported resolution rates for tree nut allergies range from 9% to 14%.
  • Unlike some food allergies, tree nut allergies tend to be lifelong. Fewer than 10% of children with a tree nut allergy outgrow it.
  • Additionally, around 50% of people who are allergic to one type of tree nut are also allergic to another type. For instance, about two-thirds of people allergic to cashews are also allergic to pistachios, and similarly, two-thirds of those allergic to walnuts react to pecans.

Shellfish Allergies

  • In the United States, it is estimated that approximately 2.0% of the population is affected by shellfish allergy
  • Shellfish allergy is more common in adults than in children. In the United States, approximately 2.4% of adults are allergic to shellfish, compared to 0.5% of children.

Fish Allergy

  • In the United States, about 0.2% of the population (or 2 in every 1,000 people) are estimated to have a fish allergy.
  • In a European study, the prevalence of fish allergy was found to be approximately 0.3% in the general population.
  • Unlike some food allergies, fish allergies are typically lifelong, with over 50% of people not outgrowing their fish allergies.

Economic Burden of Food Allergy

Overall Economic Cost

  • The estimated overall economic cost of food allergy was $24.8 billion annually.
  • The 95% confidence interval for this estimate was $20.6 billion to $29.4 billion.
  • On average, this translates to $4184 per year per child with food allergies.

Direct Medical Costs

  • Direct medical costs associated with food allergies were estimated at $4.3 billion annually.
  • The 95% confidence interval for this estimate was $2.8 billion to $6.3 billion.
  • This includes costs related to clinician visits, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations.

Costs Borne by the Family

  • The costs borne by families of children with food allergies totaled $20.5 billion annually.
  • This includes various components such as lost labor productivity, out-of-pocket expenses, and opportunity costs.

Opportunity Costs

  • Opportunity costs related to food allergies amounted to $14.2 billion annually.
  • The 95% confidence interval for this estimate was $10.5 billion to $18.4 billion.
  • These costs relate to caregivers needing to leave or change jobs to manage their child’s food allergies.

Food Allergy Statistics by Country

United States

  • It is estimated that approximately 32 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.6 million children under the age of 18.
  • The prevalence of food allergies in children has been increasing over the years. From 1997 to 2011, the prevalence of food allergies in children under 18 increased by 50%.
  • The most common food allergens in the United States are peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. These eight food groups are responsible for approximately 90% of all food allergies.
  • Around 5.6 million children in the United States have food allergies, which translates to roughly 1 in 13 children, or about 8% of all children.
  • Approximately 26 million adults in the United States have a food allergy.
  • A study estimates that there were approximately 30,000 hospitalizations annually due to food-included anaphylaxis.

United Kingdom

  • In the UK, it is estimated that 2% of adults and 8% of children have a food allergy.
  • An estimated 2 million people in the UK are living with a diagnosed food allergy and about 600,000 with Coeliac Disease.
  • Approximately, 23% of participants in the United Kingdom reported experiencing allergic reactions when consuming fruits.
  • About 32% of participants in the survey stated that they suffer from intolerance to cow’s milk and milk products such as butter, cheese, cream, and yogurt.
Anurag Sharma

Anurag Sharma

He has been helping in business of varied scales, with key strategic decisions. He is a specialist in healthcare, medical devices, and life-science, and has accurately predicted the trends in the market. Anurag is a fervent traveller, and is passionate in exploring untouched places and locations. In his free time, he loves to introspect and plan ahead.