Gluten-free foods: Riding a wave of celebrity endorsement and consumer health-consciousness

Sales of gluten-free foods have been strong in recent years, and this strength is only partially explained by the increasing numbers of gluten tolerant consumers buying gluten-free products. This case study looks examines why consumers are avoiding gluten, how the trend is part of the larger move towards greater health consciousness, and what kind of companies are present in the market.

Scope

  • This case study examines the gluten-free food market and the reasons behind its growth.
  • It looks at why non-medical gluten-free consumption is increasingly popular, and at the increased healthfulness of society as a whole.
  • Finally, the case study examines how some companies, including supermarket Wegmans and multinational General Mills, have entered this market.

Reasons to buy

Why has the gluten-free market grown so rapidly in recent years?

Can large corporations successfully enter the gluten-free market?

Companies mentioned

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Table of Contents

OVERVIEW

Catalyst

Summary

THE GLUTEN-FREE MARKET HAS GROWN QUICKLY, PROPELLED BY NON-MEDICAL GLUTEN AVOIDANCE

Gluten is found in cereal grains, particularly wheat

The gluten market ...

OVERVIEW

Catalyst

Summary

THE GLUTEN-FREE MARKET HAS GROWN QUICKLY, PROPELLED BY NON-MEDICAL GLUTEN AVOIDANCE

Gluten is found in cereal grains, particularly wheat

The gluten market has experienced strong growth in the UK, US, and Canada

The UK's market is small but growing quickly, with room for product innovation

The US market is surging, with plenty of gluten-free options in shops and restaurants

In Canada, the demand for gluten-free products is rising sharply

Non-medical gluten avoidance has driven the market

Those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance/sensitivity must avoid gluten for medical reasons

Gluten awareness has soared in the last decade, although many misunderstand its properties

Gluten-free foods are more expensive than their regular counterparts

Many believe gluten-free could be a fad although celiac disease is on the rise

The number of people who think gluten-free is a fad is growing, but is still outnumbered by gluten-free proponents

There is evidence that gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are on the rise.

Bread sales are down by half since 1960

GROWING HEALTHFULNESS OF SOCIETY

Healthfulness is increasingly cited as a purchase driver

China's economic growth has propelled health-consciousness

THE GLUTEN-FREE MARKET IS STILL DOMINATED BY SMALL BRANDS

Wegmans notes that the market is still dominated by smaller brands

It is difficult and expensive for large corporations to go gluten-free

General Mills sees gluten-free products as major drivers of sales

General Mills had slow first half US retail sales in FY2015

Based on Chex’s success, GM is focusing on gluten-free cereals to boost sales

The healthy snacks segment has continued to grow, and GM wants to add more gluten-free options

CONCLUSIONS

Health consciousness has propelled the gluten-free market

APPENDIX

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