Gluten Free Buying Guide

Research from Mintel suggests that 15% of UK households now avoid gluten and wheat, with over half of those decisions based on lifestyle choices alone rather than as a necessity when diagnosed with coeliac disease, an intolerance/sensitivity to gluten or when suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).This expansion in the appeal of gluten-free is a key factor helping to drive the surge in sales in the category, which was estimated to be worth £588m in 2017 with a year on year growth of 31.6%*. The latest Kantar Worldpanel figures give an estimated £1.5bn value for the overall free-from category, suggesting that 2018 was another bumper year for gluten-free products. Although it’s worth noting that some of the growth in the category can be seen as artificial, as manufacturers have been quick to re-label products that are naturally gluten-free to emphasise the benefit.

Gluten-free has become synonymous with a healthy lifestyle, with consumers choosing to avoid gluten as a way to lose weight, because it makes them feel better or generally as part of a healthier lifestyle. This perceived ‘health halo’ is also helping to drive product innovation, taste and quality as gluten-free manufacturers are starting to look at reducing the fat and sugar content in their products whilst increasing the nutritional profile and taste. There has also been more convergence with other wellness ‘trends’ such as high protein, ancient grains and vegan.

Conventional brands have also started to tap into this more mainstream appeal, launching gluten-free variations of their top-selling products, creating a gluten-free fixture that offers customers more variation, choice and price points than ever before. The ambient bakery segment continues to dominate, but snacking and convenience products are growing in importance, whilst we’re starting to see more seasonal products, international cuisine and specifically targeted products for children and pets too.

This updated version of our Gluten-Free Buying Guide offers a one-stop-shop for the broadest and most innovative range for your customers’ gluten-free needs. We’ve also included an overview of the latest market data and trends from industry expert, Paige Wood from Schär UK as well as a guide to the Low FODMAP Diet from Fody Foods.


*Kantar Worldpanel, 52 w/e 31st December 2017

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