Consumer Trends

Demand for gluten-free increases

An increasing number of restaurants are responding to the more than 18 million Americans with gluten intolerance. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness states that only 3.5% of those with the disease have been diagnosed to date, but many more consumers have gluten sensitivities or are embracing gluten-free menu items and products for their “healthy halo.”

  • In 2010, the U.S. gluten-free foods and beverages market reached an estimated $2.6 billion in retail sales, according to the report Gluten- Free Foods and Beverages in the U.S., 3rd Edition by market research publisher Packaged Facts
  • From 2006 to 2010, the market experienced a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30%. Packaged Facts predicts the growth to continue, approaching $6 billion in 2015
  • 1,500 chefs participating in the NRA’S hottest menu trends survey named gluten-free/food allergy-conscious meals in the top ten for 2011
  • American Express Restaurant Briefing notes that chefs report 5% of visits each day are by guests with gluten issues. In restaurants across the country, changes to accommodate the requests are being made
  • Mitchells Fish Market, headquartered in Orlando, FL, created a separate menu with 20+ gluten-free dishes
  • When guests at the Dallas-based Maggiano’s Little Italy say they have an allergy or are gluten-intolerant, the server asks the chef to personally discuss gluten-free menu items with them
  • When the owner of ZPizza in Irvine, CA discovered he was gluten intolerant, he immediately added a gluten-free pizza to the menu. Now all pizzas are rolled out in rice flour to avoid contamination


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