The Gluten-Free Agency

1 Purpose. 360 Degrees

Gluten-Free Digestion is Now the Centre of Wellness


While a gluten-free diet is essential for those with celiac disease, many American consumers purchase gluten-free products for other health reasons according to the Hartman Report, these may include:


  • Digestive health

  • Nutritional value

  • Aid in weight loss

  • Desire for healthier skin

  • Alleviation of joint pain

  • Improved mental function/concentration

  • Stress reduction

  • Part of a cleansing regimen

  • Alleviation of depression

  • Alleviation of asthma or other allergies

From a macro health and wellness perspective, consumers remain laser-focused on fresh, local, high-quality foods with unwavering passion. For progressive wellness consumers, the avoidance of gluten hits at the root source of all wellness: digestion is the epicenter for a wellness lifestyle.

Digestion is the single most important theme around which serious health and wellness issues converge (inflammation, weight management, immunity, energy, and food sensitivity.

Gluten Free Digestion is the Centre of Wellness

Understanding this focus on digestion is shedding insights into what some have called a fad and others a trend in the ongoing growth of the gluten-free market.  Read the full article.

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Consumers are Highly Engaged with Food-Related Websites

Recipes on Food WebsitesAccording to the Hartmann Group today’s technology-savvy consumers use the Internet to enrich their experiences with foods and beverages.

Using an Internet, mobile phone and Food & Beverage survey with members of, almost half (45%) of respondents said they visit food and beverage related websites often during the course of a week: 17% once or more daily and 28% several times a week.

For 3 in 10 respondents, “looking for recipes” is the primary reason for visiting a food website, while 23% visit a food and beverage website to seek nutritional information.

Food and the Internet

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Reasons to Follow a Gluten-Free Diet

Hold the GlutenGluten was incorporated into the human diet 10,000 years ago, which is a recent occurrence in evolutionary time. This short period has left little time for our bodies to evolve in terms of processing this new protein, and many non-intolerant consumers are choosing to revert to a gluten-free diet for a variety of reasons.

In fact, a survey of U.S. adults by the Hartmann Group showed that 39% of all gluten-free consumers purchase these products for digestive health reasons, 33% purchase for its nutritional value, 25% to help lose weight, 20% for healthier skin, 18% to alleviate joint pain, and a variety of other reasons. Only 5% of gluten-free consumers polled said they purchase these products to “treat” celiac disease.

Many consumers from the same survey said that they unintentionally purchase gluten-free products because the products they like to purchase “just happen to be gluten-free.” Although a slightly older report on the US gluten-free market the data is relevant and insightful.





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Does the Gluten Content of Wheat Account for the Increase in Celiac Disease?

The Gluten Content of WheatIn response to the suggestion that an increase in the incidence of celiac disease might be attributable to an increase in the gluten content of wheat resulting from wheat breeding, a survey of data from the 20th and 21st centuries for the United States was carried out.

The results do not support the likelihood that wheat breeding has increased the protein content (proportional to gluten content) of wheat in the United States. Possible roles for changes in the per capita consumption of wheat flour and the use of vital gluten as a food additive are discussed in the attached article.

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Shopping Topography – Where Does Gluten Free Fit In?

Cross-Channel Shopping Trip Missions

shopping-topography-2012Consumers claim that they still go on their weekly or monthly stock-up trips to Grocery, Club, and, increasingly, Mass stores, but during the week the stock-up trip needs to be supplemented with fill-in trips to a variety of different Channels, depending on needs, occasions, forgetfulness, and in the case of immediate consumption, hunger and thirst.

Consumers will also stop at several stores in one day.


• Club rules when it comes to stock-up with 50%.

• Almost even across the board for fill-ins, with most fill-in trips driven by proximity.

• Mass and Grocery lead in occasion-based consumption, which refers to holiday and event shopping.

• Drug is the most popular for immediate consumption with 24% highlighting the recent rise in snacking and the drug store as a venue for snack and beverage purchasing.

Source: Shopping Topography report, The Hartman Group, Inc. 2012


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Researchers Estimate That 80% of North Americans Eating Gluten Free Do Not Have Celiac Disease

Gluten-Free FoodOf the 18 million North Americans eating gluten-free, researchers estimate that 80% are currently eating gluten free do not have the disease.

According to Dr. Mark Borigining, a rheumatologist who recently wrote about gluten sensitivity for Psychology Today, “ if you’re using this gluten fear as just another channel for a bigger problem – like an eating disorder – then that’s a real concern.”

Gluten sensitivity has been defined as a real physical issue however, Much about gluten sensitivity, and its apparent rise in diagnoses, remains a mystery. Some doctors have suggested the hygiene hypothesis, which posits that children’s immune systems may not be as equipped to digest gluten as they once were because they’ve grown up in overly sterile environments. “Gluten sensitivity is the new kid on the block,” says Alice Bast, president of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. “We definitely need more research on it, and we need to find biomarkers for it so we can test more easily for the disorder.” Continue Reading…

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Gluten-Free Items on Limited Service Restaurant Menus

Gluten Free MenuIn a recently completed study by Technomic Research, a Chicago based research organization it’s little surprise to hear, but limited-service chains (LSRs) are leading the commercial foodservice industry, the recently completed research study showed LSRs account for 73.3 per cent or $19.6 billion of the top 200 chains sales.

The firm’s “Top 200 Canadian Chain Restaurant Report” indicated LSRs — where patrons generally order and pay at the counter — also made up 85.5 per cent of the industry in 2011. Continue Reading…

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New Celiac Drug in Development

New Celiac Drug ALV003A new celiac drug in development has been given the fast track by the US FDA. However, celiac consumers will still have to adhere to gluten-free diets while using the drug.

The attached article is an update on the drug project and confirms the traditional research data on the number of consumers within the US that suffer from and or follow a gluten-free diet. A couple of interesting numbers that support the gluten-sensitivity data we have been seeing lately are:

  • About 65 percent of people with celiac can be asymptomatic for a long time, said Sferra, division chief of pediatric gastroenterology. “Eventually many of those patients develop symptoms.”

  • About 34 percent of patients who are newly diagnosed each year with celiac disease are older than age 60, according to studies.




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January 2013 and Consumer Diets are Popular Discussion Points

america-loves-to-snackMake no mistake; we’re living in the Great Age of Snacking. One doesn’t have to look too long or hard to find headlines about Americans’ snacking behaviors and the promise of opportunities for food and beverage manufacturers and food retailers. The rise of snacking occasions can be culturally intertwined with the growth of eating alone occasions and the decline in family eating.

It seems like another lifetime ago when snacks were considered a “special treat,” a reward reserved primarily for kids. Not so today. Snacking is not just for kids, and almost any food and beverage can be a snack. To get a snapshot view of America’s snacking behaviors, the Hartmann Group surveyed members of and pulled a couple of interesting nuggets of data from the Eating Occasions Database.

To begin to grasp the profound change in America’s eating behavior and practices, take a look at visual results from the online survey of American consumers as depicted in the infographic.


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