An August 2012 consumer survey by Packaged Facts shows that 18% of adults are buying or consuming foods products tagged as gluten-free, up from 15% in October 2010. Moreover, the share of gluten-free consumers who are buying more of these foods has skyrocketed, and the share of total shoppers who are buying more gluten-free foods has doubled. According to David Sprinkle, the research director at Packaged Facts, “the conviction that gluten-free products are generally healthier is the top motivation for purchase of these products.”
Evidence continues to emerge linking a grain-based diet with a wide range of chronic health conditions. This is one of the factors that is leading to growing awareness of these ailments among patients, healthcare practitioners, and the general public. Growing awareness, acknowledgement, and prevalence of celiac disease, food allergies, and related disorders will in turn promote swifter, simpler, and more accurate diagnoses of conditions that may be alleviated by gluten-free lifestyles. A trend that has friends and family members eating gluten-free to support loved ones are among the factors stimulating continuing expansion in this market.
Awareness leads to demand. Marketers’ offerings of gluten-free foods and beverages that are of higher quality, are more readily available, and are more consumer-friendly in terms of packaging and convenience, have sent sales in this market soaring. While growth rates will moderate over the next five years in the wake of market expansion, Packaged Facts projects that U.S. sales of gluten-free foods and beverages will exceed $6.6 billion by 2017.
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