Gluten-free Goes On

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Gluten-free Goes On


The gluten-free food and beverage market has kept growing even faster than forecast, according to “Gluten-Free Foods and Beverages in the U.S.,” a report by Rockville, Md.-based Packaged Facts. The market will reach $4.2 billion in 2012, for a compound annual growth rate of 28 percent over the 2008-2012 period. Within this varied market, snack/granola bars are the top category, accounting for 15 percent of mass market sales.

An August 2012 consumer survey by Packaged Facts found that 18 percent of adults are buying or consuming food products labeled gluten-free, up from 15 percent in October 2010. Moreover, the share of gluten-free consumers purchasing more of these foods had soared, and the share of total shoppers buying more gluten-free foods had doubled. “The conviction that gluten-free products are generally healthier is the top motivation for purchase of these products,” noted Packaged Facts Research Director David Sprinkle.

Emerging evidence linking a grain-based diet to a wide range of chronic health conditions is one of factor causing higher awareness of such ailments among patients, health care providers and the general public, according to Packaged Facts. Rising awareness, acknowledgement and prevalence of celiac disease, food allergies and related conditions will in turn lead to faster, simpler and more accurate diagnoses of illnesses that may be treated with a gluten-free diet, the company added. A trend that has friends and family members eating specialized foods in solidarity with loved ones suffering from gluten intolerance or celiac disease is among the drivers of ongoing expansion in the gluten-free market, Packaged Facts’ research found.

This awareness translates to greater demand. Marketers’ offerings of higher-quality gluten-free foods and beverages are more readily available and more consumer-friendly in terms of packaging and convenience, triggering dramatic sales increases, the report noted. While growth rates are expected to moderate over the next five years following market expansion, Packaged Facts projected that U.S. sales of gluten-free foods and beverages would surpass $6.6 billion by 2017.

Packaged Facts is a division of