Gluten-free market growing in popularity

by Staff
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NEW YORK —The gluten-free market is expected to grow by $1.2 billion during the next five years and reach more than $4.3 billion, according to market researcher Datamonitor.

“The U.S. ownership of more than half the global market for gluten-free products can be partially attributed to the popularity of diet fads in the U.S.,” said Mark Whalley, consumer analyst with Datamonitor. “There is also a wider audience for a gluten-free diet, greatly outnumbering those suffering from celiac disease. Combined with this, the numerous symptoms associated with celiac disease has increased concern among non-celiac suffers, therefore further increasing the available market for gluten-free products.”

Celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Jenny McCarthy also have made a gluten-free diet popular.

Still, Datamonitor said there is a risk the gluten-free market will decline in the way the low/no-carb market did. There are a number of consumers who are wrongly self-diagnosing themselves as celiacs, and since the gluten-free diet has become a “vogue diet” it has the potential for a rapid decline in popularity among those who don’t have the disease.

“One hurdle brands face is making sure the taste of gluten-free products is appealing,” Mr. Whalley said. “Manufacturers need to adopt a more holistic approach ensuring they communicate the wider benefits of gluten-free foods rather than relying on what is excluded from the products.”

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