Today, there are many new gluten-free products in the market. The demand for anything gluten-free does not seem to be diminishing. In fact, the demand is so high that specialty retailers have successfully forayed into the mainstream market. There is no doubt that these products are surging the market because there is a consumer demand for them. However, the big question is “why is there a demand?”
Reason for Increased Demand in Gluten-Free Products
Some experts say that following a fad is part of the American culture and according to market research, American consumers spent a whopping $7 billion in 2012 1 to buy gluten-free products. Many consumers have the misconception that by consuming gluten-free products, they will lose weight or feel better physically. Some also believe mistakenly they are sensitive to gluten so they should consume foods that are free of gluten. Others believe these products will help children with autism and attention deficit disorder, or it will help with multiple sclerosis or IBS. Still, there is no scientific evidence to back this claim.
The fact is there are more and more people getting sick from eating foods that contain gluten, including wheat, rye and barley. However, researchers still do not know the reason for this. In such people, it can trigger celiac disease, resulting in bloating, sporadic diarrhea and abdominal pain. People suffering from celiac disease cannot absorb nutrients well and this can result in a host of health problems, such as rashes, fatigue and weight loss. It was once rare for Americans to be diagnosed with celiac disease, but it has now become very common. It is estimated that about 2 million1 people in the United States have celiac disease.
Research says that more people are being diagnosed with celiac disease as they are consuming more processed wheat-based products like baked goods and pasta. Or, the disease could be due to the changes made at a genetic level in the wheat to make the plant hardier, more productive and shorter in size.
Then there are people who are allergic to wheat. Such people have to necessarily consume gluten-free products. Usually, this allergy is seen amongst children who tend to outgrow it. However, there are some adults who suffer from gluten sensitivity which leads to bloating and other symptoms similar to celiac disease. These people can get relief from avoiding gluten, but do not have celiac disease.
The Way Forward
The fad of consuming gluten-free products is not set to diminish. Whether people consume it for health reasons or a fad, manufacturers are making a killing with these products. Of course, people suffering from celiac disease are extremely happy that they can now get access to gluten-free products easily, as this was not the case a few years ago. Although the demand for these products is increasing the prices are not coming down on these products and there are very few printable coupons available to help with the high costs.
For many consumers, going gluten-free is an alternative lifestyle that makes them feel better and healthier. For others, it helps with their digestive problems. One of the biggest motivators for buying gluten-free products is the belief that these products are healthier in comparison to their conventional counterparts. And, with people becoming more health conscious, there is bound to be an increase in demand for what they believe is a healthier option.
With manufacturers improving their products and with more people being diagnosed with food allergies, gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, it is spurring the expansion of new gluten-free products in the market. And, this expansion will not stall anytime in the near future.