The gluten-free market is cementing its staying power as more than a mere dietary fad and continues to make national headlines, including a recent announcement by Pizza Hut that it will begin offering gluten-free pizza. In the retail sector, sales of gluten-free foods posted an impressive compound annual growth rate of 34 percent over the five-year period ended in 2014, when market sales reached $973 million, according to market research publisher Packaged Facts in its recently released report called “Gluten-Free Foods in the U.S., 5th Edition.”
“Retailers have embraced the gluten-free trend by stocking more gluten-free items, featuring them in store and launching their own private label brands. In addition, retail chains have been courting the gluten-free consumer with a variety of festivals and events,” says David Sprinkle, Packaged Facts research director.
Packaged Facts’ July/August 2014 survey data reveals that more than a third of consumers claim gluten free/wheat free is an important factor when they are shopping for food. In addition, a quarter of survey respondents had purchased or used food products labeled gluten free in the three months prior to the survey.
Looking ahead, the gluten-free market’s momentum isn’t expected to wane anytime soon. Packaged Facts projects sales will exceed $2 billion in 2019. The “Gluten-Free Foods in the U.S.” report highlights several key factors favoring continued growth in the market, including:
• Consumer trends, including use of, interest in and opinions about gluten-free foods;
• Growth in demographic groups showing a strong propensity to purchase gluten-free foods;
• The escalating prevalence of health problems associated with diet;
• More and better quality gluten-free food products that are readily available in mainstream retail channels;
• The growing presence of large marketers in the segment; and
• A ruling by the Food and Drug Administration on the definition of “gluten free” that will level the playing field among manufacturers.
In the report, Packaged Facts’ analysis focuses on traditionally grain-based products in the following categories: Salty Snacks, Crackers, Pasta, Bread, Cold (ready-to-eat) Cereal, Cookies, Baking Mixes, Frozen Bread/Dough, and Flour.