Gluten-free food continues to be a hot topic in the industry. Mintel, the independent provider of world-leading market intelligence, recently published their first “Gluten-free Foods” report.
The retail gluten-free food market has grown tremendously over the past couple of years with retail sales reaching an estimated $6.1 billion in 2011. According to Mintel, additional factors driving the sales of gluten-free food include the improved taste of products, consumer perception that it’s better for you than traditional food, trendiness, and interest in natural and organic food and beverages.
The Mintel research also showed that wheat allergies affect only a minority of people, but celiac disease is on the rise. Only 1 percent of consumers say they’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease and just 8 percent overall say they are gluten intolerant/sensitive. However, research leads Mintel to believe that many consumers may not realize they are gluten intolerant/sensitive or may be ignoring the signs and symptoms. So the 8 percent overall is probably closer to 15 percent.
As research shows, the gluten-free market isn’t going away; therefore, food companies have significant opportunities to further market their products and capitalize on providing the information, support and products gluten avoiders are searching for.