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Health, Youth & Marketing Drive Global Gluten-free Food Demand

Celiac.com 04/14/2016 - Driven partly by a perception among consumers that gluten-free foods are healthier than their non-gluten-free counterparts, the global gluten-free packaged food market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 6% between 2015 and 2019, according to a recent market report from Technavio.

Photo: bella ferraro CC--eva rinaldiIn addition to health and wellness, Technavio identifies demand from millennials and increased marketing activities as prime emerging trends driving the gluten-free market. Once seen as medical products for gluten intolerant people gluten-free products have evolved into "a lifestyle choice across all customer segments," says Brijesh Kumar Choubey, a lead food industry analyst at Technavio.

Many consumers associate gluten-free foods with better energy energy levels, and with weight loss. Technavio cites a 2013 market survey conducted by Monash University that revealed nearly 80% people buying gluten-free products report perceived health benefits as the main reason.

Just five to ten years ago, buyers of gluten-free foods were likely to be older. Today, younger consumers, specifically 32% of millennials, and 38% of Generation Z, said they would pay higher prices for gluten-free products.

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Bakery products, cookies and snacks are the top gluten-free foods among this consumer group, said Technavio.

Driven by growing demand, and by new product development, the bakery segment leads the gluten-free packaged food market with 64% market share in 2014. Technavio predicts the segment will outpace the rest of the market through the end of 2019, growing at a rate of about 7%.

Increased marketing activities from big and small manufacturers alike is the last key driver Technavio cites as a driver for gluten-free packaged food demand.

An example is Heinz, which in 2014 launched a social media campaign for its gluten-free pasta and sauces, Technavio said.

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