Friday, September 11, 2009

Gluten-Free foods long term trend or Fad?

Americans have focused on gluten-free foods on and off for the past six years and we have witnessed both the rise and fall of one of the most popular drivers the Atkins Diet, another is the South Beach Diet. There is a revolving door of fads that are associated to popular diets. The Gluten-Free trend is one of them. The Grocerant sector focusing on prepared ready to eat and ready to heat foods will not see an abundance of focus on the Gluten-Free. The food focus will be on fresh and authentic and portable.
The market for gluten-free foods and beverages has been up in recent times. Other than diets the growth has largely been attributed to more frequent diagnosis of celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder with symptoms triggered by gluten, the protein in grains like wheat, barley and rye. Roughly 40,000 to 60,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease in the US, although the federal government estimates that there could be as many as 3 million who are undiagnosed – or just under one percent of the population with the under counted. I do not see Gluten-free going away but as a stable trend, I do not think so. I believe that it will rise and fall and rise again.


  1. Being a celiac and a foodservice consultant I see it rising. The fact that it has surfaced is because the education in the media that has just started. In actuality they have done studies in europe that 33% of the population has either celiac or a wheat intolerance. That is not counting on the education of parents with kids with autism and adhd etc. There are many success stories of people with diabetes and arthritis etc. that when they have taken gluten out of their diet they have become better. We are way far behind in the US because our medical profession is run by the pharmacutical companies and they stand to make no profit because it is a dietary change, not a pill. My sister was on heavy hypothyroid medicines and not losing weight. She lost 22 lbs in about 3 months when she found out she was celiac. I was severely hypoglycemic and it has tremendously gotten better from going gluten free. It has a HUGE potential for the grocery stores and restaurants. One restaurant I know has grown by 33% by adding gluten free items. You make loyal customers that know they are "safe" eating products gluten free.

  2. Top of the day to you Jodie!
    I do not take it lightly nor was I trying to down play the significance of celiac. It is a disease as you know much better than I that can be successfully handled with a specific diet. Globally the largest concentration of celiac disease is found in Southeast Asia and after centuries of learning retail food outlets sell a vast majority of products that are gluten free.
    The problem in the US is how consumer chooses to eat, particularly the 18 -34 years. Most consumers in that age group consumer 4.4 dinners meal occasion per week with there hands. In most cases protein arrives between a bun, in a wrap, or on gluten pizza. I made my determination on the USDA’s official numbers for the US. The US does not do a good job in education or preventative medicine if we did it could help many.