Will the Gluten-Free Trend Last?
Although most consumers admit that the gluten-free diet is a fad, that doesn’t stop them from adhering to it. In 2015, a study from Mintel showed that over 25% of consumers consume gluten-free foods, a 67% increase from just two years prior. This same study found that the number of people who doubt the benefits of gluten-free diets has actually grown to 47%, up from 31% in 2013. With these conflicting numbers showing that people are consuming more gluten-free foods but also doubting the diet altogether, will the gluten-free trend last?
Mintel has found that consumers believe any food with a “free from” claim, including gluten-free products, is likely to be a healthier choice, and therefore is more attractive to the younger generation of health-conscious shoppers.
Although consumers rely on these labels to determine whether a food is healthy or not, trust in labeling is dwindling. Only 45% of customers believe that every product labeled as gluten-free actually is, down from 48% in 2013. Food distributors and brands should work to build up this trust by changing the labels. Instead of simply stating “gluten-free”, packaging should state steps taken to ensure that the facility the product was manufactured in is free from gluten.
Many food experts and analysts believe that the gluten-free trend will continue to grow as long as brands keep innovating. Food distributors should expect to see a rise in gluten-free foods that substitute pulses such as lentils for wheat in pastas and snacks. Because pulses are high in fiber and protein, these new products will appeal to not only strictly gluten-free consumers, but all health-conscious shoppers.
Because consumers are still turning to gluten-free diets for weight loss, brands would benefit from marketing their gluten-free products as “skinnier” or “lighter” options that can aid a healthy eating plan. Food distributors and retailers should also expect an influx of gourmet gluten-free products. Since many consumers question the quality and taste of gluten-free foods, gourmet brands such as Inspired by Happiness will most likely continue to succeed in the market. These brands incorporate unique ingredients such as lentil or black bean flour to pique customer interest and drive sales in the gluten-free market.
Want more insight on the changing demands of your customers? Contact Mr. Checkout Distributors to talk to a team of experienced and knowledgeable distributors that service over 35,000 grocery and convenience stores.