DUIVEN, THE NETHERLANDS — The number of gluten-free products introduced continues to rise globally, and further double-digit growth recorded in 2009 will take the total number of products recorded in the Innova Market Insights database to more than double the level it was in 2007. The increase is due in part to improved labeling regulations, awareness of gluten intolerance in the diet and a desire for more mainstream and good-tasting gluten-free products across a range of food and beverage categories.

Innova Market Insights said more than 5% of the food and beverage launches in 2009 were marketed as gluten-free, with the level at more than 10% in Australia and New Zealand and at less than 1% in Asia. While there were higher launch figures in the U.S. and Europe, this mainly reflects higher levels of food and beverage new product activity as a whole.

Sales of gluten-free foods in the U.S. were estimated at more than $1.5 billion a year, according to Innova Market Insights. Many of the U.S. new products reflect value-added products offering additional benefits, and the products are no longer simply relying on a specialist gluten-free image. Innova noted it was especially significant the Betty Crocker brand from General Mills, Inc. has introduced the first nationally branded gluten-free bakery mixes in the U.S.