The gluten-free trend doesn’t have long legs, reported Dr. Elizabeth Sloan, president of Sloan Trends, in a presentation at the recent Research Chefs Association conference in Texas. Among her findings, a few standout themes emerged:
- Only 22% of consumers are buying gluten-free products intentionally—they aren’t necessarily buying these products because they are gluten-free.
- The gluten-free market is much larger than warranted by the population of Americans who require gluten-free foods, leading the market to grow at an unsustainable rate (30% from 2006 to 2010).
- Vegetarian and other plant-based diets are positioned to steal the spotlight, as a required gluten-free diet represents only a small percentage of the population.
- Currently the gluten-free market is estimated at $2.64 billion (as of 2010). This number is predicted to drop significantly in the oncoming years.
- Only about 1 in every 133 Americans is affected by Celiac disease.