Celiac.com 11/19/2012 - The U.S. market for gluten-free foods and beverages is growing even faster than projected, and will hit $4.2 billion by the end of 2012, according to the latest news from Packaged Facts.

Image: CC--AJC1Demand for gluten-free foods and beverages will begin to slow a bit over the next five years, but is still projected to top $6.6 billion by 2017.

According to the 2012 report, titled “Gluten-Free Foods and Beverages in the U.S.," the compound annual growth rate for gluten-free products rose 28% over previous four year period.

Snack and granola bars led the overall, racking up 15% of total sales.

According to the researchers, the growth is fueled by an increase in celiac disease and food allergy awareness among patients, healthcare practitioners, and the general public; awareness that has led to higher rates of diagnosis than before.

These facts, coupled with the introduction of more and better products, and the tendency for friends and family members to eat gluten-free in support loved ones, are the major factors driving the ongoing growth of the market for gluten-free products.

A survey done this past August by Packaged Facts showed that 18% of adult consumers are buying or eating gluten-free foods, compared with 15% in October 2010.

Moreover, the number of gluten-free consumers who are buying more gluten-free foods has risen dramatically, while the percentage of total shoppers who are buying more gluten-free foods has doubled.

According to David Sprinkle, research director at Packaged Facts, these numbers are driven by the belief that "gluten-free products are generally healthier…"

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