Gluten-Free Going Mainstream

There are greater reasons for the category's success than gluten sensitivity.

The gluten-free consumer is quickly becoming more than just someone who is allergic to gluten protein. New research from Mintel suggests that more than one-third of gluten-free consumers choose gluten-free products for reasons other than sensitivity. Their motives include inflammation support, mood support, and even what they perceive as weight loss.

Mintel’s latest gluten-free foods report, now available for purchase, notes that 27% of respondents say they seek out gluten-free foods for weight management. “It’s really interesting to see that consumers think gluten-free foods are healthier and can help them lose weight, because there’s been no research affirming these beliefs,” says Mintel food analyst Amanda Topper. “The view that these foods and beverages are healthier than their gluten-containing counterparts is a major driver for the market, as interest expands across both gluten-sensitive and health-conscious consumers.”

Mintel’s report covers a lot of the peculiarities of the gluten-free market, including customer product preferences, successful ad strategies, and descriptions of successful brands.

The gluten-free food and beverage market is now valued at an estimated $10.5 billion. In the last three years, this niche market has grown by 44%.