Gluten-free eating is taking the world by storm. But it is not just all about gluten-free pasta, bread and biscuits. Exciting new opportunities are also emerging for fresh food, including starchy roots, vegetables and pulses. The new generation of gluten-free consumers is really not that difficult to cater for as it cares less about purity and more about choice and variety. For fresh food industry players, this means training their focus on foodservice, particularly in countries where packaged gluten-free food sales are already high.
Gluten - the Enemy of Wellness
Our health and wellness data show that global value sales of gluten-free packaged food soared by 75% over the 2008-2013 review period, reaching US$2.1 billion in 2013. In the past, the only people avoiding gluten were those individuals suffering from coeliac disease, an auto-immune condition in which the consumption of gluten causes the body to attack its own digestive tract.
Nowadays, however, a growing number of consumers are eschewing gluten because they believe that their bodies are sensitive to this cereal protein in some way. They attribute a wide variety of persistent symptoms to gluten sensitivity, such as persistent fatigue, skin rashes, weight gain, digestive complaints (including irritable bowel syndrome), poor memory and hormonal imbalances.
In essence, a branch of modern health and wellness philosophy which is continually gaining in popularity is that any unexplained symptoms may be down to a food intolerance, and gluten is one of the first candidates for an experimental elimination diet.