Sales of gluten-free products are expected to reach $8.8 billion in 2014, an increase of 63 percent from 2012-14, according to market research by Mintel, a firm that does consumer, product and media analysis.
New Food and Drug Administration labeling laws in the United States are cited as one reason for strong growth in the gluten-free market. The biggest increase is seen in snack foods, which increased 163 percent in the last two years, reaching $2.8 billion in sales. In that category, potato chip sales accounted for the most growth.
“Overall, the gluten-free food market continues to thrive off those who must maintain a gluten-free diet for medical reasons, as well as those who perceive gluten-free foods to be healthier or more natural,” says Amanda Topper, food analyst at Mintel. “The category will continue to grow in the near term, especially as FDA regulations make it easier for consumers to purchase gluten-free products and trust the manufacturers who make them.”
Topper says that despite strong growth over the last few years, there is still opportunity for innovation, “especially in food segments that typically contain gluten.”
The meat and meat alternatives segment was the second-largest gluten-free food segment in terms of sales, reaching $1.6 billion in 2014, a 14 percent increase from 2012-14.
The bread products and cereals segment saw gains of 43 percent during that same time period, and is set to reach $1.3 billion this year. Bread and cereal are ripe for gluten-free growth with only 1 percent of the overall segment termed gluten free.
In response to increased popularity of gluten-free products, food manufacturers are labeling existing products as gluten free and offering gluten-free alternatives to products that typically contain gluten, according to Topper.