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Gluten-Free Market Continues To Grow

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The market for gluten-free foods and beverages has continued to grow even faster than anticipated, according to “Gluten-Free Foods and Beverages in the U.S.,” a new report by 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 diverse market, snack/granola bars are the leading category, at 15 percent of mass-market sales. An August consumer survey by Packaged Facts shows that 18 percent of adults are buying or consuming food products tagged as gluten free, up from 15 percent in October 2010. Moreover, the share of gluten-free consumers who are buying more of these foods has skyrocketed, and the share of total shoppers who are buying more gluten-free foods has doubled.

According to David Sprinkle, the research director at Packaged Facts, “the conviction that gluten-free products are generally healthier is the top motivation for purchase of these products.”

Evidence continues to emerge linking a grain-based diet with a range of chronic health conditions. This is one of the factors that is leading to growing awareness of these ailments among patients, healthcare practitioners and the general public. Growing awareness, acknowledgement and prevalence of celiac disease, food allergies and related disorders will in turn promote swifter, simpler and more accurate diagnoses of conditions that may be alleviated by gluten-free lifestyles. A trend that has friends and family members eating gluten-free to support loved ones are among the factors stimulating continuing expansion in this market.

Awareness leads to demand. Marketers’ offerings of gluten-free foods and beverages that are of higher quality are more readily available, are more consumer-friendly in terms of packaging and convenience, and have sent sales in this market soaring. While growth rates will moderate over the next five years in the wake of market expansion, Packaged Facts projects that U.S. sales of gluten-free foods and beverages will exceed $6.6 billion by 2017.


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