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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Is Gluten-free Still a Smart Bet for Food Retailers?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Do hidden dangers await gluten-free food retailers?


    Caption: Are gluten-free products still a solid bet for food retailers? Photo: CC--eatsmilesleep

    Celiac.com 05/09/2017 - For years, industry observers, health experts and even food companies have questioned the staying power of gluten-free food.

    With more people than ever embracing gluten-free products and gluten-free diets, including a majority of folks who do not have celiac disease, gluten-free food has never been more popular. There have also never been more gluten-free products hitting store shelves.

    Couple that with the fact that U.S. sales of gluten-free products are projected to exceed $2 billion by 2019, and the market for gluten-free products looks as solid as ever.

    But, do hidden caveats await potential investors, especially on the retail end? Maybe.

    There's a great article over at Fooddive.com about the challenges of succeeding in the gluten-free grocery business especially on the retail end.

    The article interviews a number of major gluten-free retailers, and notes that the higher margins and intense customer loyalty that come with gluten-free products also come with warning signs that may portend a looming downturn.

    Far from being doom-and-gloom, the article includes some interesting insights on the strategies and tactics being used by retailers to bolster their gluten-free sales.

    Read more at Fooddive.com.


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    One paragraph in Food Dive said, “We're still selling a lot of gluten-free products, but I think those for whom it was never a medical necessity have moved on to the next free-from trend.†I have celiac disease and I used to eat a lot of gluten-free processed foods when first diagnosed, but realized I was doing a disservice to my body so I stopped eating heavily processed foods 98% of the time. Snack bars, cookie mixes, etc., are now a biweekly/monthly treat. Instead, I have switched to eating lightly processed (chicken, veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds) home cooked food. Imagine cooking! I also know many others who have celiac disease that are staying away from many gluten-free foods because they still have symptoms and can't figure out where they are coming from. Many celiacs have other food intolerance or allergies so many foods we still cannot eat. Finally, the issues with rice and arsenic and mercury poisoning are keeping many folks away from a lot of the processed foods.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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