December 5, 2011

Gluten-Free Takes Page from Kosher in Targeting Mainstream

Secaucus, NJ … Amongst the many discussions by food industry executives at last month’s Kosherfest was the dramatic increase in the number of new gluten-free products that were showcased at the 23rd annual kosher food trade show. While some thought that the category would ultimately emerge as a passing fad, others saw a much longer shelf life. But food executives are beginning to associate the success of gluten-free with that of kosher. Like kosher, the products were originally produced for a narrow niche audience, largely celiacs and others that had difficulty with digesting wheat. Most consumers considered the products to be bland and not as tasty as products with gluten, much the way the mainstream thought of kosher only two or three decades ago. But the gluten free products today are tastier and being accepted by a larger audience as part of a desire for healthier eating. This is why many kosher purveyors now see gluten-free as a category that is here to stay.  According to a recent Nielsen report on consumer trends, the volume of gluten-free products sold in the past year is up 37 percent. Spins, a market-research-and-consulting firm for the natural-products industry, says the gluten-free market is a $6.3 billion industry and growing, up 33 percent since 2009.