Mark Dolliver: The Food-as-Allergen Niche

Amid all the concern lately about tainted foods, some consumers need to worry about foods that are perfectly healthy for other folks. In a poll fielded for The Wall Street Journal Online’s Health Industry Edition by Harris Interactive, 20 percent of adults reported that someone in their household suffers from food allergies. While relatively few of these allergies are life-threatening, they’re a big deal for about one-third of people who have them (see the chart). Among those with allergies, 17 percent have had a reaction to a food they bought at a store because it was incorrectly or insufficiently labeled.

Trick or treat

Consumers expect to spend a per capita average of $65 this year on Halloween paraphernalia, finds a BIGresearch poll for the National Retail Federation, up from $59 last year. Costumes ($23), candy ($20) and decorations ($18) will account for the bulk of the outlays. Young so-called-adults will be especially big spenders, with 18-24-year-olds shelling out $34 for costumes alone. Total spending for the holiday is forecast to top $5 billion.