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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gluten-free food market growing by 30 percent a year | jacksonville.com

Submitted by Mark Basch on March 8, 2011 - 1:40pm

The Gluten-free Glutton

Here's good news for everyone who's restricted to a gluten-free diet: a new report by market research firm Packaged Facts says that the U.S. market for gluten-free foods and beverages has grown by 30 percent a year since 2006 to $2.6 billion in 2010. And while the firm expects growth to slow, it still projects gluten-free sales to exceed $5 billion by 2015.

That's good news because more retailers are recognizing that there is a strong market for gluten-free foods, and we can expect to see more products on supermarket shelves.

"I've heard more and more about it in the last five years," Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. CEO Peter Lynch told me recently.

Jacksonville-based Winn-Dixie says that 85 percent of its stores carry a selection of gluten-free products, which include chips and pretzels, cookies and crackers, cereal, baking mixes, bread, pasta, pizza crusts, pancake mixes and frozen selections. The company says it "absolutely" expects to focus more on gluten-free products in the future.

Packaged Facts says that more mass market retailers are selling gluten-free products, with the gluten-free market share for health and natural food stores falling from 30 percent to 16 percent in the last two years. The firm said just under half of gluten-free shoppers buy from Walmart, and 44 percent buy from supermarket chains.

The firm said one marketer it interviewed refers to gluten-free products as "just a regular grocery item."


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