Countries with notable sales included the UK (£365M), Italy (£250M) and Germany (£54M). However, even combined, the EU market did not top the US’s $8.8bn gluten-free market, according to David Jago, director of innovation and insight at Mintel UK.
“But, the US market’s definition of gluten-free food is anything that does not contain gluten so not only specially produced foods,” Jago told delegates at a gluten-free food conference held at Vitafoods Europe in Geneva last month (May).
Critics predicting a slowdown
Despite some critics predicting a slowdown in the fast rise of gluten-free foods across Europe, this was unlikely to happen for at least another four years, he added.
The US, for instance, would grow its market by 60% within the next 12 months and the UK would grow its market to more than £500M by 2019, he claimed.
However, gluten-free food manufacturers now had to expand into other areas of the supermarkets where they weren’t present, such as chilled and frozen foods, which had happened in the US, Jago said.
“It’s not only gluten-free foods that are experiencing growth,” Jago added. “Almost 40% of all UK consumers asked said they avoided at least one food ingredient in the past year.”
Next, free-from food and drink manufacturers would focus on providing products with multiple benefits. “So, it won’t just be free-from, but it might be high in protein or it might be cholesterol reducing too,” he claimed.