Gluten-free products to see short-term growth; long-term less certain? wrote an interesting article about future trends in the gluten-free market according to Datamonitor.

While the focus was not on restaurants (it was about the growth in gluten-free product offerings in general), the commentary seems equally applicable to dining out.

While you can read the entire story via this link, I am including a few interesting bullets:

  • The global gluten-free market is set to grow by $1.2 billion over the next five years to $4.3 billion by 2015 (39% growth)
  • The US gluten-free market is set to grow by more than $500 million by 2014.
  • The US will represent a whopping 53% of the gluten-free market by 2014.
  • The huge portion of the global market attributable to the US is likely partially due to gluten-free fad diets, bolstered by “gluten-free celebrities” like Jennifer Aniston, Jenny McCarthy, and Elizabeth Hasselbeck.  (While I know at least the latter two of these individuals have been vocal about their gluten-free needs, they nonetheless may be inadvertantly influencing the public into thinking gluten-free is somehow “in style.”)
  • The above, if true, is a double-edged sword in that the “fad” aspect driving gluten-free’s product growth will likely fade over time (meaning the impetus for manufacturers to increase their gluten-free offerings will lessen, though not necessarily go away.)
  • Datamonitor suggests the market’s growth might already be plateauing (i.e. growth over the next 5 years might be less than the last 5, albeit still robust).

The article ends with a quote from a Datamonitor analyst that I think is right on the mark.

“They [food manunfacturers] cannot lose sight of the fact that core consumers of the products will always be celiacs, so relying on consumers outside of this demographic in the long-term will prove to be a very risky strategy.”

I don’t know if this should make us feel better or worse.  What do you think?  Do you agree with the research?  Do you find it encouraging or discouraging?  Do you believe that there is a significant “fad” aspect to the market’s growth or not?  Have your say by clicking on Reply or Comments below.

And as always, help us show restaurateurs our community’s passion for gluten-free and allergy-friendly by rating your recent dining experiences on the main AllergyEats site.  Each new rating helps increase the value of AllergyEats for our entire community and gives further motivation for restaurants to cater to our needs.


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