Bord Bia magazine, Food Alert has demonstrated that the market for gluten free goods in the UK is at 12 million consumers and has grown by 120% in the past five years.
Marketer at Bord Bia's London office Sarah O'Connell says that sales growth is coming from wheat "avoiders", as well as those with severe allergies, according to separate research by UK trade group, Gluten-Free Solutions.
O'Connell told the Irish Examiner, “Driving this trend is a growing segment of the market choosing gluten-free as part of a lifestyle choice (as opposed to those with severe allergies and intolerances), with celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Aniston and Novac Djokovic all now promoting wheat-free and gluten-free diets.”
She added that social networks also play an influential part in a person's eating-out choice as are groups or families who eat out with a coeliac. The market, she says is at "tipping point" and while retailers are offering many 'Free-From' products, the food service industry is still largely ignoring the trend towards gluten-free preferences.
"Operators will need to move to align their offer with this demand if they are to avoid missing out on this lucrative growth opportunity," said O'Connell.
While Spanish retailers Carrefour and Mercadona have implemented gluten-free ranges, Spanish feedback shows consumers are concerned by the higher cost of such products. A 2013 report by Face revealed a consumer who wants to follow a gluten-free diet must spend 344% more than a consumer wishing to purchase goods with gluten. This amounts to €1,616 more each year.
"The industry consensus is moving from treating gluten-free as a purely niche area to something consumers now expect and want," said O'Connell.
© 2013 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones