September 5/Rockville, Md./Press Release -- The surge in celebrity endorsements of a gluten-free lifestyle, combined with growing awareness of celiac disease and gluten intolerance, has driven the Canadian gluten-free (GF) market to over $450 million in 2012, according to "Gluten-Free Foods in Canada," a new report from market research firm Packaged Facts.

The market has managed an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.6% between 2008 and 2012, with snacks, breads/cereals/grains, and frozen/refrigerated prepared foods as the top three product categories.  Notably, a higher percentage of gluten-free product users in Canada, compared to their counterparts in the U.S., report purchasing gluten-free foods because someone in their household has celiac disease or a gluten or wheat allergy or intolerance.

A major factor fueling this market growth is the increased availability of gluten-free products in retail and discount grocery chains such as Sobeys and Atlantic Superstore. Another significant factor is better product quality: almost half of the respondents in a Packaged Facts August 2012 survey of Canadian consumers felt the quality of gluten-free items had increased significantly in recent years.

According to David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, “A number of key trends continue to benefit the Canadian gluten-free market: growing awareness of celiac disease, food allergies and related disorders; increased availability of gluten-free (GF) products in mainstream outlets; and a growing number of people buying GF products incidentally.”