Date Published: 11 September 2005
Gluten-Free Boom Presents Opportunities for Retailers
New research shows that the need for a gluten-free diet is 10 times higher than experts originally predicted. Retailers should prepare to meet the needs of this growing niche, according to two experts about the gluten-free diet.
This is the message that Shelley Case, RD and Carol Fenster, Ph.D. will bring to retailers at the Natural Products Expo East trade show on September 15 at the Washington, DC Convention Center. Ms Case is a dietitian who counsels gluten-free patients and the author of Gluten-Free Diet (www.glutenfreediet.ca) and Dr Fenster is a chef who develops gluten-free products for manufacturers and is the author of Gluten-Free 101( www.glutenfree101.com).
They explain that this diet is not a fad but a medically prescribed avoidance of gluten which is a protein in wheat that is toxic for some people. The two experts will help retailers understand the medical necessity of the gluten-free diet and how stores can stock their shelves and market effectively to gluten-free consumers.
Food manufacturers are responding to the need for gluten-free products. According to the Natural Foods Merchandiser, the number of gluten-free products jumped 88% between 2002 and 2003," said Fenster, who has been gluten-free for 17 years.
It is expected that total food dollars spent on allergies and intolerances - gluten-free products being a part of this - will rise to nearly $4 billion by 2008.
People who need gluten-free diets are those with allergies or intolerances to wheat or related grains such as barley, rye, spelt, and possibly oats. Nearly 3 million Americans have celiac disease, an autoimmune form of gluten intolerance in which gluten damages the ability to absorb nutrients. The condition can be fatal if not treated with a gluten-free diet.
" There is no magic pill or surgery for gluten intolerance," says Case.
" The only treatment is total avoidance of gluten for the rest of one's life. This makes the gluten-free consumer a repeat buyer - and very attractive to retailers."
Source(s): Savory Palate Inc., USA