A few years ago, gluten-free products were virtually unheard of except in specialty health food stores. Nowadays, products labeled with the term “gluten-free” nearly dominate local supermarket segments from fresh to frozen, and deli to dairy. Once a rare find, gluten-free foods are now increasingly getting more shelf space and attention. In some cases, whole aisles are dedicated to gluten-free products.
Studies show that well over 15% of consumers are eating gluten-free as part of a healthy lifestyle, not just due to dietary restrictions. They find gluten-free foods easier to process. Another 30% of consumers are saying they would like to incorporate eating less gluten in their diet. And herein lays another huge opportunity for gluten-free marketers, seeing as gluten-free, once thought a fad, is now a trend with more than 15% of North American households using gluten-free products.
Reports via www.marketsandmarkets.com, an online marketing analysis resource, show that sales in the category have doubled in the last 5 years and the global market for gluten-free products was valued at $4.6 billion in 2015 and is projected to reach $7.6 billion by 2020. Trend data shows the gluten-free target audience to be 44 million and growing.
Three emerging trends are driving the gluten-free market: health and wellness, demand from Millennials/Generation Z, and increased marketing activities. Those who are influenced by gluten-free claims are reportedly healthier eaters and more influenced by natural and organic ingredients.
As reported by www.foodbusinessnews.com, an online food trends publication, younger generations, specifically 38% of Generation Z and 32% of Millennials, said they are willing to pay a premium for gluten-free products. Data shows that the average gluten-free eater spends 30% more on their grocery budget as well as shop at three or more stores per month to find gluten-free products.
Online public relations resource, www.openpr.com, reports that in 2014, driven by new product development, the bakery segment lead the gluten-free packaged food market with 64% market share. It is predicted the segment will retain its dominance through the end of 2019, growing at a rate of about 7%.
Bakeries and restaurants are now opening which are categorized as “gluten-free”. And more want to focus on gluten-free but cannot due to how difficult it is to learn how to produce a quality tasting gluten-free pastry from scratch. It is said to take months of trial and error experimentation. Reportedly, once a baker finally discovers a gluten-free recipe that works, they guard it closely because of the difficulty and time the recipe took to discover.
Gluten-free foods are a new culinary staple and may remain a permanent resident on grocery store shelves. Seeing as many consumers take advantage of almost every opportunity to avoid gluten, there is no wonder why more companies are focusing on new product development and increased marketing of gluten-free products. Gluten-free is proving to be a profitable industry that has great potential to boost menu sales and the overall bottom line of a variety of businesses, while meeting the dietary needs of the consumer market with a plethora of safe, enjoyable delicacies.