The appeal of gluten-free foods does not appear to be abating, strengthening its market position as more than what some viewed as a passing dietary fad. In fact, retail sales of gluten-free foods posted an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34 percent over the 5-year period ended in 2014, when market sales reached $973 million. Looking ahead, the gluten-free food sector is predicted to exceed $2 billion in 2019.
Driving the increased sales of gluten-free products are an escalating prevalence of health problems associated with diet; more and better-quality gluten-free food products and their increasing availability in mainstream retail channels; and favorable rulings on the definition of gluten free by FDA. Effective Aug. 5, 2014, all packaged foods labeled “gluten-free" were required to meet all requirements of the gluten-free labeling final rule published in 2013 by FDA. The new rule applies to packaged foods that sold in retail and foodservice establishments.
From beer to cookies, gluten-free products have managed to position themselves as differentiated food alternatives in modern grocery retailers. But as the retail sales and opportunities in foodservice grow, so does the criticism around the nutritional composition of gluten-free food. The commonly higher content of sugar and fat in gluten-free offerings, and at the same time a lower level of protein, create new challenges for the formulators.
This topic will be discussed next week during the Food Product Design track of the SupplySide West Education program, sponsored by BASF, Tuesday, Oct. 6 from 2-2:50 p.m. I invite you to join Ewa Hudson, head of health and wellness, Euromonitor International, who will lead the “Gluten-Free Explosion: Opportunities & Challenges Surrounding the Nutritional Composition of Gluten-Free Food" session.
Attendees will learn the nutritional challenges gluten-free food faces; how naturally gluten-free “supergrains," such as amaranth and quinoa, may provide an ideal new product launch platform; and current data and category breakdowns that provide context of the gluten-free market and its subcategories.