The gluten-free market is growing substantially as consumers turn to gluten-free food products to help manage symptoms of celiac disease and gluten-intolerance, as well as aid in weight management. Looking ahead, the gluten-free food sector is predicted to exceed $2 billion in 2019 and products will be the norm in many categories, including convenience foods like pizza.
Driven by consumer demand, the number of pizzas launched globally with a gluten-free claim soared 58 percent between 2012 and 2015, according to new market data from Mintel. What’s more, the number of pizza launches containing rice flour as an alternative ingredient to wheat increased from 78 percent to 90 percent between 2014 and 2015.
The rise in gluten-free pizza launches comes as a result of the growing demand for wheat alternatives, as 32 percent of French, 28 percent of Polish and 22 percent of German consumers say they would like to see a wider variety of gluten-free pizza. In Italy this number increases to a staggering 44 percent, while 51 percent of Spanish consumers say they want more gluten-free pizza options.
Yet while interest in gluten-free pizza varieties appears to have increased, just 2 percent of French, 3 percent of German, 3 percent of Polish, 5 percent of Spanish and 8 percent of Italian consumers actually bought gluten-free pizza in 2015.
“With gluten-free having become something of a lifestyle choice in Western countries, especially among younger generations, it is no surprise that a growing base of consumers are buying into gluten-free pizza. However, as pizza is an inherently indulgent food, manufacturers need to magnify the quality appeal of their wheat-free pizzas and convince consumers that the taste and texture of wheat-free alternatives is akin to regular pizza," said Alex Beckett, global food and drink analyst, Mintel.
According to Mintel, innovation in lactose-free claims could be the next step for pizza launches. Almost half of consumers in Spain say they’d like to see a wider variety of dairy-free pizzas, followed by 39 percent of consumers in Italy, 31 percent in Poland, 30 percent in France and 20 percent in Germany.
France now leads the way in retail pizza launch activity accounting for 11 percent of all new pizza launches, up from 9 percent in 2011. Meanwhile, the global share of newly introduced pizza products in the United States has almost halved over the same period; the U.S. accounted for 10 percent of new pizza launches globally in 2015, compared to 19 percent in 2011.
Europe might hold the largest number of pizza launches, but it is the Asia-Pacific region which is the fastest growing market for pizza innovation. Mintel research reveals that the increased number of launches in the Asia-Pacific region in 2015 directly corresponds with a leap in microwaveable pizza launches.
Removing gluten from formulations creates challenges in achieving optimal texture, volume, shelf life and cost. But, amid the challenges there exists an opportunity to move from existing product reformulation to new product formulation in the gluten-free category. Download INSIDER’s free “Gluten-Free Growth: Rethinking Reformulation" report for an overview of the gluten-free market, details on current labeling requirements and guidance for formulating appealing products to meet increased gluten-free demand.