The gluten-free foods market has seen dramatic growth over the past decade and its size is expected to double in the next 10 years. Visiongain predicts that growth in this market will gradually slow down but remain lucrative throughout the forecast period. There are notable regional differences in the popularity of gluten-free diets. Even though they are extremely popular in western countries, the trend is not common among consumers in some other regions. Visiongain predicts that the world market for gluten-free foods will reach $3.91bn in 2015.
Ten years ago, gluten-free foods were only sold in local bakeries and natural channels. While most of the early products were tasteless, the flavour and shelf-life of recently launched gluten-free products have improved significantly. These products are now marketed toward the general public and sold in mainstream retail stores.
The incidence of coeliac diseases and gluten intolerance has risen considerably over the last few decades. However, the fast-growing gluten-free market has benefited from broader audience trying to avoid gluten or wheat for health, weight loss or other reasons, rather than people with coeliac diseases. Surprisingly, the perception that gluten-free alternatives are generally healthier than their conventional counterparts is not validated by any scientific evidence.
An increasing number of food manufacturers continue to position their gluten-free products by using broader claims associated with 'natural' or 'healthier' foods rather than just gluten-free. Those claims appeal to a wider audience, and may help mitigate a potential impact if consumers turn to another food trend in the future.
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