NPD's research found that just 25% of those living in gluten-free households cite celiac disease or gluten sensitivity as the main reasons. Among the other reasons consumers cite for following a gluten-free diet are that it improves digestive health and eliminates toxins from the body.
“There is clearly a segment of the population who avoids gluten for reasons other than gluten sensitivity or disease, providing a greater opportunity for food manufacturers and retailers,” says NPD food and beverage industry analyst Darren Seifer. “Food marketers should pay close to attention to all of the reasons for a gluten-free diet and connect the reasons with appropriate messages in order to better target your audiences.”
However, marketers should also keep in mind that two downsides offset perceived gluten-free benefits to some extent: high costs and disappointing taste. The most-cited reason for choosing not to buy a gluten-free product is that it was too expensive, and half of gluten-free consumers said they may not be willing to sacrifice taste in order to keep maintaining a gluten-free diet.
Marketers should give careful consideration to how gluten-free products
are priced in comparison with comparable foods containing gluten, and keep working on the taste factor, says Seifer.
"Gluten Free Bread" photo from Shutterstock.