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Many US Wheat-based Products Gluten-free or Gone in 3-5 Years 01/22/2014 - With many major grocery brands struggling to generate sales growth, and with top gluten-free brands Udi's and Glutino racking up combined net sales growth of 53% last quarter, the writing is on the wall: More and more wheat based brands will be looking to break into the gluten-free market in the next three to five years.

Photo: CC--Zane SelvansBoulder Brands CEO Steve Hughes told analysts on the firm's Q3 earnings call that Boulder is seeing "strong, consistent velocity in distribution builds across all channels" for gluten-free products.

According to Hughes, 5-10% of all wheat-based product categories will be gluten-free in the next three to five years, or else they will disappear from the market.

Again, as many wheat-based brands struggle for market share, Udi’s remains the fastest-growing brand in the conventional grocery store channel, and retailers are responding.

Hughes said that Udi's 3rd quarter net sales were up 74% year-over-year, adding that "Glutino net sales grew 29%. Combined, our gluten-free brands increased net sales 53%." Udi's and Glutino now average nearly twenty items on retail shelves, up from about fifteen and a half just a year ago.

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Meanwhile, Hughes notes, the gluten-free pizza business has been performing“extraordinarily well.” He points out that many retailers now have three dedicated gluten-free sections, including a 4-12ft section in the ambient grocery aisles, half the full door in the frozen food aisles, and a frozen or shelf-stable rack in bakery.

Hughes wrapped up his presentation by adding that gluten-free items are also gaining a share of the club store channel. He said that they were "...starting to get some testing of bread into the club channel, which could be very meaningful next year.”

Hughes' presentation does imply that growth also means the pressures of competition for market share, both among gluten-free manufacturers and retailers, and between gluten-free and wheat-based manufacturers and retailers.

All of this is basically good news for consumers of gluten-free products, as it means more and, hopefully, better quality products.

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7 Responses:

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said this on
27 Jan 2014 7:08:52 AM PDT
I have celiac and have to avoid gluten. I'm also allergic to corn, sulfites and have to avoid soy because of my thyroid disease. Unfortunately for me, so many gluten free food products contain starches that are processed with sulfites. And they contain ingredients and additives made from corn. They would cause severe allergic reactions if I ate them. So, I'm pretty much stuck with rice cakes.

Sandra Black
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said this on
27 Jan 2014 3:29:15 PM PDT
The GF pizza and other pre-made dishes most often have very high sodium levels. To make them part of a good GF diet, versus a bad GF product, the producers need to find ways to make a flavorful product without a large amount of salt, fats and sugar. It can be done.

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said this on
27 Jan 2014 5:31:59 PM PDT
It's great to see more gluten free food is being made available. Unfortunately, still not in a lot of areas can provide gluten free food unless ordered from the internet and gluten free companies themselves. I will continue to hope that prices will drop faster. There are still too many that can't afford much. Remember to donate GLUTEN FREE FOOD at food drives!!!!

Cheryl Costa
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said this on
29 Jan 2014 8:57:42 PM PDT
I agree. I just recently was diagnosed as gluten sensitive, and am on a SS income. So much of the gluten free foods are so very expensive, the pasta's and bread stuffs. I did get the GF baking mix and all purpose flour so I can make some of the stuff I like, but that is extremely expensive too.

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said this on
27 Jan 2014 7:17:44 PM PDT
That makes me really, really happy. I was one of the lucky ones that didn't get diagnosed several years ago when there weren't hardly any gluten free products and no labeling. What a lucky time we live in.

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said this on
27 Jan 2014 9:04:19 PM PDT
Amazing how Udi's can increase their sales when the size of each slice of bread is much smaller and the holes in the bread are larger.

Cheryl Costa
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said this on
29 Jan 2014 9:01:23 PM PDT
The Ud'si bread is small and has holes, but just to be able to have a sandwich once in a while is great. I have been eating healthier since I can't afford to have a sandwich every day or a hamburger, etc. when we go out, instead I have a salad, so in some ways it is a win, win.

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