Gluten free

This year’s hottest growing trend: Gluten

It seems like everywhere you turn whether you’re eating out or in the grocery store it’s become increasingly more common to see the words “Gluten free”.  Which raises the question: is celiac disease on the rise or is this gluten thing becoming a health trend?  It is true that Canadians and even Americans are becoming progressively more intolerant but it’s also becoming very popular or “trendy” to eat a gluten free diet.  The interest in these products have been steadily on the rise since 2010 and only continue to increase in popularity.  In the last 5 years sales in the gluten free category have doubled and are expected to double again this year to reach an estimated $5.5 billion.

However, no matter what the reason is, the fact still remains that there is a demand for these gluten free products and the foodservice industry has to adjust and listen, which is exactly what they’re doing.  As of 2012 there has been a 36 percent increase in the amount of gluten free products on menus and this number will only continue to rise in the coming years as restaurants such as Joeys, Pickle Barrel, Milestones, The Works, and Boston Pizza all have gluten free options.  The list of big chain restaurants that have gluten free options is quite astounding and gives people who actually have celiac disease the opportunity to be safe while dining out.  The number of people ordering gluten free menu items in restaurants is definitely becoming more significant and has gained a lot more recognition over the last few years.

So what’s the cause of all this?

Well, these constant modifications in our eating habits are mainly due to the ever changing progression of how people address their health and wellness, in addition to all the trends and influences in the media.  Once upon a time eating a healthy diet involved limiting and reducing fat, cholesterol, sugar and sodium.  This principle is still followed but with the addition of new nutrition information, new allergies and new diet plans surfacing there in no question that these factors or fads have shaped and influenced our eating patterns.

Regardless of the reasons people choose to make the gluten free switch the demand and trend is far too large for the food industry to ignore.  This is an opportunity to address consumer needs and build up this new market.  As the food service industry continues to adapt and grow the prevalence of gluten free products will continue to escalate and become more common.