Three trends driving gluten-free market

by Monica Watrous
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Gluten-free packaged baked goods - Immaculate Baking cookies, Udi's bread, Pillsbury cake mix
The bakery segment leads the gluten-free packaged food market with 64% market share in 2014.

LONDON — The global gluten-free packaged food market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 6% between 2015 and 2019, according to a report from Technavio. A factor driving continued momentum in the category is a perception among consumers that gluten-free foods are healthier.

 “The gluten-free packaged food market is growing due to an increase in obesity in leading countries across Europe and the Americas,” said Brijesh Kumar Choubey, a lead research analyst for the food industry at Technavio. “Gluten-free products have turned from being medicated products for gluten intolerant people to a lifestyle choice across all customer segments.”

New product innovation is expected to contribute to growth in the coming years, Technavio said. Pulses have become a popular stand-in for wheat in gluten-free pastas, baked foods and snacks, while appealing to health-savvy shoppers who seek products high in protein and fiber.

Gluten-free pasta made with pulses, Tolerant and Modern Table pasta
Pulses have become a popular stand-in for wheat in gluten-free pastas.

Driven by new product development, the bakery segment leads the gluten-free packaged food market with 64% market share in 2014. Technavio predicts the segment will retain its dominance through the end of 2019, growing at a rate of about 7%.

Technavio identified three emerging trends driving the gluten-free market: health and wellness, demand from millennials and increased marketing activities.

Health and wellness

Celiac or not, many consumers associate gluten-free foods with increased energy and weight loss. Technavio cited a 2013 market survey conducted by Monash University that revealed 78% of those who purchase gluten-free products say they do so for some sort of health reason.

Demand from millennials

Younger generations, specifically 38% of Generation Z and 32% of millennials, said they are willing to pay a premium for gluten-free products. Bakery products, cookies and snacks are the top gluten-free foods among this consumer group, said Technavio.

Marketing driving awareness

A key driver behind the growing demand for gluten-free packaged foods is an increase in marketing activities from big and small manufacturers alike. An example is Heinz, which in 2014 launched a social media campaign for its gluten-free pasta and sauces, Technavio said.
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