The Gluten-Free Agency

1 Purpose. 360 Degrees

Gluten-Free is Big, Just Not As Big as You Might Think


With sales continuing to show double digit growth (47% in 2013), Dr. Sheluga Director of Commercial Insights at Ardent Mills provides some useful insights on the actual size of the gluten-free market.  Projected by Mintel to be $10bn in 2013, more realistic projections confirm a $1.2bn market with 70% of sales being driven by heavy buyers that actually account for only 3.8% of US households….Read

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Gluten-Free Baby Food – The Next Growth Opportunity

According to Mintel research 42% of all baby foods being launched in Europe are gluten-free. With only 1% of the population suffering from celiac disease this demonstrates a long term continued commitment and therefor growth of the gluten-free segment by the general population.  The graduation from gluten-free baby food is suggesting that there is a significant growth opportunity for  manufacturers of children’s foods, as parents appear to be prepared to continue to exclude gluten and other food additives from their growing children’s diets.

. .. Read

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FDA’s Compliance Guide on Gluten-Free Labeling Published 6 Weeks Before August 5, 2014 Deadline


The Food and Drug Administration took action issuing a “Small Entity Compliance Guide” for companies that want to label their products gluten free.  In just about 6 short weeks, the gluten free labeling rule will go into effect in the US.

While most companies who currently use gluten free labels  are  likely pretty clear in how the rule will affect them by now, this compliance guide is an easy reference on the subject.

The guide covers the key requirements of the regulation, including food products subject to the rule; the definitions of the terms “gluten” and “gluten-free”; and when FDA considers a food labeled “gluten-free” to be misbranded

Key points to remember with the FDA’s gluten-free labeling rule:

  • This is not required labeling.  If a company wants to label a product gluten free, then it must follow the FDA’s guidelines
  • If a product is labeled gluten free it must have less than 20 parts per million of gluten
  • Rule becomes official on August 5, 2014

To read the guide click on the link below….…/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInf.

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Gut Feel – Why Customers Go Gluten-Free

Gut Feel

Manufactures are taking the opportunity to tap into several markets: soy-free, dairy-free. gluten-free, Non-GMO and organic.  When you consider the “free-from” product claims, it’s interesting  that the gluten-free opportunity is actually one of the only ‘allergen claims’ that has a  specific diet attached to it. Perhaps this is part of its allure and success.

In a recent issue of Grocery Business the Gluten-Free Market is explored and defined. The GFCP Team worked with the Grocery Business Team to support this effort and help manufacturers and retailers strengthen their understanding of the consumer marketplace and the role of the GFCP in providing the assurance that the brands now being offered to consumers provide the necessary quality and safety story to build brand trust.  To learn more ….


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Gluten Free, Gluten Sensitive, FODMAP’s or IBS? Are You Following One of These Digestive Health Diets?

Marketers feed on this. According to Mintel, a market research firm, “75 percent of consumers who do not have celiac disease or sensitivity to gluten eat these foods because they believe they are healthier, despite the lack of any scientific research confirming the validity of this theory.” Mintel predicts, “the gluten-free food and beverage market will grow 48 percent from 2013-2016, to $15.6 billion, at current prices.”

A few weeks ago a report came out suggesting that non-celiac gluten sensitivity may not really be the market opportunity we once thought. The researchers concluded that gluten had no real effect on patients who claimed to be gluten sensitive and do not have celiac disease.  In fact, the suggestion was that consumers with digestive disorders may be suffering from another food ingredient in our food that  has been defined as FODMAP’s (stands for fermentable oligo-saccharides, disaccharides, mono-saccharides and polyols). FODMAP’s are a group of carbohydrates  which are often poorly absorbed in the small intestine, and when fermented by gut bacteria produces gas and leads to other gastrointestinal maladies.

The gluten-free industry, this includes marketers and healthcare providers are not abandoning this group of  non-celiac gluten sensitive consumers as they represent 6-7% of the population however, will these new studies have impact on the marketer’s new product development and innovation and where will this all sort out in an industry with poorly defined boundaries.  Read more….

The Urbanite

Gluten-Free Mania — If You’re Following the Fad, You’re a Marketer’s Dream and Part of the 

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The Pillars of Trust have Shown Decline With Today’s Consumer

With today’s highly innovative and competitive market consumers do fall back on brand trust as a means of creating differentiation for a brand. This intuitive distinction is key for roughly 30% of consumers when making a brand decision. It seems to simplify choices and perhaps changes the critical steps involved in the consumer buying cycle.

When exploring the Consumerology study by Bensimon Byrne it is interesting to see what elements of a brand support their trust equation.  Some elements appear to be a given with a brand – quality, safety, price/ value.  However, the role of the brand’s front line representative and how a consumer is treated is now critical to our feelings of trust.

When I consider the gluten-free category, I can only reinforce to marketers the case studies of brand owners like Zappos, Nordstrom’s and TD Bank represent large organizations with infrastructures to create this trust, yet every day I work with lots of small  gluten-free brand owners that look to add their personal story and touch to a category where safety, quality and value can easily be eclipsed by a customer service representative who listens and understands the challenges of the gluten-free diet.  Full Article

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Why is the size of the North American gluten-free market so hard to define?

How big is the Canadian gluten-free retail market? And how should we define it? Depends upon who you ask.

Markets and Markets defined the Canadian gluten-free market at $90.0MM for 2013. Packaged Facts suggests it is $550.0MM, Nielsen has it at $90.0MM and GFCP suggests it may be closer to $8.7MM.  One thing they all agree on is the growth continues to be double digit with no end in sight.

One of the greatest challenges with defining the market is how one sets the definition of gluten-free.  From a regulatory standpoint in Canada, gluten-free is limited to products which have been specially formulated to replace wheat flours such as snacks, breads, cookies and does not include products that are naturally gluten-free such as bottled water or dairy based products (i.e. cheese, milk). The US market on the other hand can include these items, but does not include items such as meats and alcoholic beverages as they fall under a different set of legislation.  This makes a marketers 10% rule less applicable in the gluten-free market.

GFCP continues to monitor and is trying to narrow down the definition as it currently stands and provide some insights into how gluten-free is being seen as one of the  broader sets of claims associated with ‘natural’ or healthier foods.

I see manufacturers are thinking there is an opportunity to tap into several markets, soy-free, diary-free, gluten-free, as well as natural or non-GMO, or organic.  When you consider the “Free-From” product claims it is interesting that the gluten-free opportunity is actually one of the only ‘allergen claims’ that has a specific diet attached to It perhaps this is part of its allure and success. One thing the research in North America supports is that Canadians are more dedicated to the diet and medical rather than celebrity endorsements are fueling their commitment to all the newly introduced gluten-free brands.” Tricia Ryan VP Marketing GFCP

Read more….

1.   What’s the size of the US gluten-free prize? $490m, $5bn, or $10bn?…/What-s-the-size-of-the-US-glute

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Dental Enamel Defects and Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease and Dental IssuesCeliac disease manifestations can extend beyond the classic gastrointestinal problems, affecting any organ or body system. One manifestation—dental enamel defects—can help dentists and other health care providers identify people who may have celiac disease and refer them to a gastroenterologist. Ironically, for some people with celiac disease, a dental visit, rather than a trip to the gastroenterologist, was the first step toward discovering their illness.

Not all dental enamel defects are caused by celiac disease, although the problem is fairly common among people with the condition, particularly children, according to Alessio Fasano, M.D., medical director at the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research. And dental enamel defects might be the only presenting manifestations of celiac disease.

Dental enamel problems stemming from celiac disease involve permanent dentition and include tooth discoloration—white, yellow, or brown spots on the teeth—poor enamel formation, pitting or banding of teeth, and mottled or translucent-looking teeth. The imperfections are symmetrical and often appear on the incisors and molars.

Tooth defects resulting from celiac disease are permanent and do not improve after adopting a gluten-free diet—the primary treatment for celiac disease. But dentists may use bonding, veneers, and other cosmetic solutions to cover dental enamel defects in older children and adults.

Similar Symptoms, Different Problem

Tooth defects that result from celiac disease may resemble those caused by too much fluoride or a maternal or early childhood illness.

“Dentists mostly say it’s from fluoride, that the mother took tetracycline, or that there was an illness early on,” said Peter H.R. Green, M.D., director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. “Celiac disease isn’t on the radar screen of dentists in this country. Dentists should be made aware of these manifestations to help them identify people and get them to see their doctors so they can exclude celiac disease.

Green just completed a U.S. study with his dental colleague, Ted Malahias, D.D.S., that demonstrates celiac disease is highly associated with dental enamel defects in childhood—most likely due to the onset of celiac disease during enamel formation. The study, which did not identify a similar association in adults, concluded that all physician education about celiac disease should include information about the significance of dental enamel defects.

Other Oral Symptoms

Checking a patient’s mouth is something primary care physicians also can do to help identify people who might have celiac disease. While dental enamel defects are the most prominent, a number of other oral problems are related to celiac disease, according to Green. These include •recurrent aphthous stomatitis, or canker sores or ulcers that recur inside the mouth •atrophic glossitis, a condition characterized by a red, smooth, shiny tongue •dry mouth syndrome •squamous cell carcinoma—a type of cancer—of the pharynx and mouth. To learn more…..


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Gluten-Free Seal of Approval for Restaurants

NFCA-certification-trademarkIn Canada, the restaurant industry generates $65 billion in annual sales and employs over 1.1 million people. According to market research, Canadians who have adopted a gluten-free lifestyle find going out to restaurants one of their biggest challenges. Within the United States there are three food audit programs in place to assist in the prevention of food contamination and production of gluten-free foods. Canada is clearly missing an opportunity with over 6-9 million consumers now adopting a gluten-free lifestyle. The attached article discusses the NFCA program and its application within the US market.






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