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    Gluten-Free Marketing is Catching on in the Food Industry


    Chris Bekermeier
    Image Caption: Photo: CC--travelourplanet.com

    Celiac.com 10/01/2012 - As the gluten-free market is exploding, food manufacturers are taking note. More and more food companies are recognizing the need to inform and serve the segment of the market that needs or wants gluten-free products. From gluten-free flours to gluten-free restaurant menus, the prevalence of these products is only expanding—and that means good things for the gluten-free community.


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    Photo: CC--travelourplanet.comThe Rise of Gluten-Free Merchandising
    In the United States alone, sales of gluten-free food and beverages hit $2.64 billion in 2010, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30% over the 2006-2010 period, according to Packaged Facts. A report by the Frost & Sullivan consulting firm estimates retail sales of packaged foods free of the protein are approaching $2 billion a year in the U.S. What's more, sales are expected to continue growing—even exceeding $5 billion by the year 2015.

    The growth of gluten-free parallels the growth of celiac disease, a gluten intolerance that has doubled in case numbers every 15 years since 1974, according to University of Maryland study. With an increasing number of Americans diagnosed with Celiac, not to mention many more non-diagnosed individuals finding health benefits from avoiding gluten, the market has a ready audience.

    Brands Already Active in the Gluten-Free Market
    Because gluten-free products require specialty flours and premium ingredients that command higher prices, they're typically more expensive than their traditional counterparts. Yet despite that fact, they're selling fast, which is exactly why so many companies and brands are jumping in.

    Gluten-free sales are soaring at Cub Foods grocery stores, according to a report from Minnesota Public Radio. The chain has a website that helps shoppers create shopping lists of items that don't contain gluten, and almost every Cub now has a section dedicated to the category.

    Food-manufacturing giant General Mills, the company behind Cheerios and Betty Crocker, now offers hundreds of products with the gluten-free label. Kellogg has gluten-free Rice Krispies. Beer manufacturer Anheuser-Busch sells Redbridge, a gluten-free beer. There's a long list of gluten-free menu options at P.F. Chang's, a wide variety of gluten-free options at specialty grocers like Whole Foods Market (a grocery that has more than doubled its gluten-free products in the last five years) and designated sections of gluten-free products at most major supermarkets, including Kroger, Publix and Wal-Mart.

    The Problem for the Celiac Community
    Given that there's money to be made in the gluten-free marketplace as the idea grows in popularity among celebrities, athletes, etc., it's no surprise to see so many different brands jumping on board. The problem, however, is not that companies are offering gluten-free products—it's that the products labeled "gluten-free," are often cross-contaminated in production, making them still seriously unsafe for celiac patients. For patients diagnosed with celiac disease, going gluten-free is more than a trend—it's a necessity.

    One example of this struggle is Domino's gluten-free pizza crust, launched earlier this year, which the company itself admits it "cannot guarantee … will be completely free from gluten." For someone jumping on the gluten-free fad diet, the pizza is perfect; for someone with celiac, it's a reminder of how hard eating out can be. The same goes for Starbucks, which cannot guarantee a gluten-free environment, as well as many other retailers.

    What All This Means for Gluten-Free Customers
    There is good news on the horizon for the gluten-free community. What's so significant about the upswing in gluten-free merchandise is that the more gluten-free expands, the more variety there will be and the more that prices are likely to go down. It's the basic law of supply and demand. Whereas in 2007, low availability of gluten-free goods raised prices, soon it could be the opposite that is true. As more companies seek to gain a piece of the gluten-free pie, there will be greater options, more competition and lower price tags.

    "The more you produce of something, the less it costs in general in an industrial society, if you're talking about processed products," a University of Minnesota professor, Benajmin Senauer, said in an interview with Minnesota Public Radio. "And there's going to be increased competition [in the gluten-free market]."


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    Guest Beverly Kendrick

    Posted

    I held a Gluten free Fair on may 9, 2012. Many companies can't be declared gluten free because they have non-gluten products in the same plant. Some companies have gluten free plants and non gluten-free plants both. I had the chair come and speak. I invited the two grocery stores in my town to do displays. Some others came too when they found out or I personally invited them.

    Many of the foods labeled gluten-free have other unhealthy ingredients in them. I want to have another fair sometime and expand to other stores in a nearby town. READ LABELS EVERY TIME YOU BUY GLUTEN FREE FOODS! Take items back if you find out they don't meet the requirements. Call the companies and e-mail them. Don't be afraid to ask the hard questions. Most companies are very good about responding to you.

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    Guest Eileen Park

    Posted

    I make sauces and dressings and wanted to make a gluten-free dressing. The requirements for "Gluten-free" products are much more than just using gluten-free ingredients. I cannot find a plant that would only make gluten-free products so I am considering making them at our usual plant. I'm not sure if this would qualify as "Gluten-Free" or not if it's made in a plant that makes non Gluten-free products.

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    Sources:
    1. Toft M, Dietrichs E. Aggravated stuttering following subthalamic deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease--two cases. BMC Neurol. 2011 Apr 8;11:44.
    2. Tani T, Sakai Y. Stuttering after right cerebellar infarction: a case study. J Fluency Disord. 2010 Jun;35(2):141-5. Epub 2010 Mar 15.
    3. Lundgren K, Helm-Estabrooks N, Klein R. Stuttering Following Acquired Brain Damage: A Review of the Literature. J Neurolinguistics. 2010 Sep 1;23(5):447-454.
    4. Jäncke L, Hänggi J, Steinmetz H. Morphological brain differences between adult stutterers and non-stutterers. BMC Neurol. 2004 Dec 10;4(1):23.
    5. Kell CA, Neumann K, von Kriegstein K, Posenenske C, von Gudenberg AW, Euler H, Giraud AL. How the brain repairs stuttering. Brain. 2009 Oct;132(Pt 10):2747-60. Epub 2009 Aug 26.
    6. Galantucci S, Tartaglia MC, Wilson SM, Henry ML, Filippi M, Agosta F, Dronkers NF, Henry RG, Ogar JM, Miller BL, Gorno-Tempini ML. White matter damage in primary progressive aphasias: a diffusion tensor tractography study. Brain. 2011 Jun 11.
    7. Lundgren K, Helm-Estabrooks N, Klein R. Stuttering Following Acquired Brain Damage: A Review of the Literature. J Neurolinguistics. 2010 Sep 1;23(5):447-454.
    8. [No authors listed] Case records of the Massachusetts General Hospital. Weekly clinicopathological exercises. Case 43-1988. A 52-year-old man with persistent watery diarrhea and aphasia. N Engl J Med. 1988 Oct 27;319(17):1139-48
    9. Molteni N, Bardella MT, Baldassarri AR, Bianchi PA. Celiac disease associated with epilepsy and intracranial calcifications: report of two patients. Am J Gastroenterol. 1988 Sep;83(9):992-4.
    10. http://ezinearticles.com/?Food-Allergy-and-Stuttering-Link&id=1235725 
    11. http://www.craig.copperleife.com/health/stuttering_allergies.htm 
    12. https://www.celiac.com/forums/topic/73362-any-help-is-appreciated/
    13. Ford RP. The gluten syndrome: a neurological disease. Med Hypotheses. 2009 Sep;73(3):438-40. Epub 2009 Apr 29.
    14. Hadjivassiliou M, Gibson A, Davies-Jones GA, Lobo AJ, Stephenson TJ, Milford-Ward A. Does cryptic gluten sensitivity play a part in neurological illness? Lancet. 1996 Feb 10;347(8998):369-71.

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    Jefferson Adams
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    Source:
    Gut. 2017 Feb;66(2):250-257.  doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2015-310148.