Consumers are reading the ingredient labels of their food and beverage products more closely than ever. The media’s increased coverage of food and beverage items causing serious allergic reactions has concerned a large number of consumers. Many manufacturers are responding to this global allergen health scare by altering their brands’ formulations to avoid numerous allergens, as well as gluten. For the latter, such specialized offerings appeal to those suffering from Celiac disease and individuals with wheat allergies. 

With the exception of the baby fruit products, desserts and yogurts sub-category, all top-ranking segments saw their number of gluten-free launches increase in 2008 vs. 2006. The savory and salty snacks group claimed the greatest portion of gluten-free offerings, with a total of 822 introductions globally from 2005-2008. Over that period, the U.S., Brazil and the U.K., respectively, were the top three countries to introduce gluten-free offerings.

In Spain, Nestlé introduced NatureNes, a gluten-free meal product for babies. “Low-in” or “free-from” formulations are prevalent in the baby food group, as parents want to ensure a healthy ingredient intake for their children. NatureNes, which translates to “nature born” in French, is manufactured by an innovative technology process that cooks the ingredients (fruits, vegetables, meats and fish) separately through a steam process, to retain the meal’s vital nutrients and natural taste. After the ingredients are cooked thoroughly, the food is sterilized under ultra-high temperatures.

Information in this column is from the Global New Products Database, the premier source of global product intelligence, published by Mintel International Group; 351 W. Hubbard, 8th Floor; Chicago, IL 60610; call: 312-932-0600; fax: 312-932-0474; or e-mail