Gluten-free foods: Riding a wave of celebrity endorsement and consumer health-consciousness
Sales of gluten-free foods have been strong in recent years, and this strength is only partially explained by the increasing numbers of gluten tolerant consumers buying gluten-free products. This case study looks examines why consumers are avoiding gluten, how the trend is part of the larger move towards greater health consciousness, and what kind of companies are present in the market.
Features and benefits
This case study examines the gluten-free food market and the reasons behind its growth.
It looks at why non-medical gluten-free consumption is increasingly popular, and at the increased healthfulness of society as a whole.
Finally, the case study examines how some companies, including supermarket Wegmans and multinational General Mills, have entered this market.
Large multinationals may find it difficult to enter this market, which is currently dominated by small, independent and, often, local players. Strict regulation is a prohibitive factor, as many multinationals will manufacture gluten-containing products in close proximity. Developing gluten-free products can also be costly and time-intensive. Boulder Brands has made a number of savvy acquisitions in recent years. In 2011 it paid $66.3m for Glutino, a gluten-free bakery operation. A year later, it spent double that acquiring Udi's, also a gluten-free baking operation. Both companies had sales growth of 50% in 2013. One study, conducted at Canada’s Dalhousie Medical School, found that gluten free products cost an average of $1.71 per unit, compared to $0.61 for regular products. This means that gluten-free products were an eye-watering 242% more expensive than regular products.
Your key questions answered
Why has the gluten-free market grown so rapidly in recent years?
Can large corporations successfully enter the gluten-free market?