‘Free-From’ is one of the largest growing food categories in the world, with a monumental growth over the past 5 years.
The market is reportedly worth a huge £355.1m, and there seems that nothing can stunt ‘Free-From’s’ steady rise, with a year on year growth of 19.9%. [kantarwordpanel.com]
You’ll also be surprised to know that the majority of gluten free consumers aren’t even immune to gluten or have any food related condition.
This is due to the increase of celebrity endorsement from famous faces such as Miley Cyrus, Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow who have all broadcasted the benefits of a gluten-less diet.
But will the boom in ‘Free-From’ products and the increase in availability of the dishes be a positive or a negative for people who suffer from coeliac disease?
Many coeliacs struggle with people who aren’t gluten intolerant as their condition is overshadowed by people looking for a way to lose weight.
Dining out can be a problem, as sufferers asking for amendments or special permutations to be made to their dish, don’t feel like they are taken seriously.
This is because gluten free *lifestylers* will ask for their food to be redesigned and then happily gulp down a few glasses of wheat filled lager.
This kind of behaviour has lead to generalisation’s to be made about the ‘Free-From’ lifestyle, as many consider it just another annoying celebrity induced fad.
However, there is another side to the coin, as there are genuine reasons why non-ceoliacs would cut gluten out of their lives.
There are many family members of coeliacs who have turned to a gluten free diet to try and de-stigmatise their partner, child or sibling.
Also, many people trying this diet have a non-coeliac gluten sensitivity – they feel lethargic and moody after eating the protein, so therefore have a medical obligation to try alternatives.
Either way, coeliac or non-coeliac the ‘Free-From’ category has taken off, and with the sector being predicted to be worth over £538m by 2018, we can see this debate going on for a little while longer.