Why Gluten Free?

Over the past several years gluten free eating has increased dramatically. One in three adults in the US say they want to reduce or eliminate the amount of gluten in their diet. However there’s a lot of shopper confusion around ‘Why should I go gluten free?’, ‘Is it really healthier?’ and ‘Will it help my headaches, stomach pains,______ (fill in the blank)? What’s driving this phenomenon and who should be jumping on the bandwagon?

Going gluten free changes the way people shop. It’s imperative to check every label for “hidden gluten” disguised behind ingredient lists containing natural flavors or maltodextrin. What was once convenience food (pizza, fast food, etc.) is now off limits. Eating gluten free requires an increased amount of planning to ensure availability and choice. The perimeter of the store is the most shopped by those eating gluten free since it provides the safest, easiest, and quickest options. Shoppers also employ a “hierarchy of label reading” when it comes to finding gluten free products in-store. First, they look for shelf labels, then front of pack labeling, back of pack labeling, ingredient list call-outs and then finally they resort to reading the entire ingredient list. It is obvious how shopping for gluten-free items can take twice as long!

Retailers are responding to shopper demand by implementing different store formats, either going with a “store within a store” concept or integrating gluten free products throughout the store with shelf labeling. 75% of retailers support gluten free in some way, by offering gluten free bakery goods or carrying gluten free packaged food.

How have you seen the gluten free trend influence your brand or retail space?

Sources: Celiac.com, 2013; Supermarket News Poll, 2013