Spotlight of the Month – Kyle Dine

I am so honoured to have Kyle Dine the founder of ‘Equal Eats’ as my spotlight of the month! This is a product that I always use without fail. It has really changed my life when I go away on holiday but also eat out here in the UK. It allows you to communicate your allergies effectively!

Tell us about your story behind creating ‘Equal Eats’ 

When I was young, I was afraid to travel because of my food allergies. I preferred the comforts of home and didn’t want to take the risk with flying, international cuisine, language barriers and more. I took the plunge at age 21, going on academic exchange in Sweden. When I was there, I missed out on so many cultural and social opportunities because I was afraid to dine out. On a subsequent trip to Europe the next year, I was determined to eat out more and speak up about my food allergies. At one of the first restaurants on this trip, I explained my food allergies as best as I could. I was reassured they understood and it was no problem. After one bite of my meal, I knew something was terribly wrong, and experienced a full-blown anaphylactic reaction. I found out after the fact that the language barrier played a role in their understanding of “tree nuts”. 

Equal Eats was born out of this experience, and lead me down a path of talking to both the food allergy community, and foodservice staff. I did a lot of research in finding what an ideal balanced message could be between what our community wants to say, and what foodservice staff needs to say. 

Do you have allergies yourself, if so what to?  

I was diagnosed with multiple severe allergies when I was an infant. I’ve had a few come and go, and am presently allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, various seafood, and mustard. 

From your experience what countries are the best with catering for people with allergies? Do you have any recommendations?  

I’ve had such great experiences in so many places, that it’s really difficult to recommend certain countries over others. Obviously, some cuisines contain more common allergens than others, but there are always options in every country when you do your research. I’ve found a lot of success with overall allergy awareness and labelling in Scandinavia. I also love the standard meat and potato-style meals of Balkan countries. 

What is the purpose of an Equal Eats card, tell us a little bit about them?  

An Equal Eats card puts your dietary restrictions in writing to help effectively communicate to foodservice staff and others. They can be helpful using domestically, especially when you have a long list of food allergies and you want to ensure all are noted and remembered by the kitchen staff. Internationally, they are very extremely useful as we offer cards in 50 languages that help bridge language barriers, ensuring your restrictions are truly understood when English is not the primary language. 

What are your top tips for people travelling with allergies this summer?  

I believe the most important thing to remember is that travelling with food allergies is doable, but it takes planning. My top tips are: 

  • Plan your restaurant visits. Do research on various apps like Spokin, or on Trip Advisor to get a feel for other’s experiences. 
  • Pack additional epinephrine. 
  • Don’t eat airline food. Pack your own amazing food so you won’t even be tempted. 
  • Have an emergency plan, and communicate it to your travel companions. 
  • Don’t make assumptions. Just because something was safe at home, doesn’t mean it will be in another country. 
  • Shift your focus from food, to everything else countries have to offer.