It’s been more than 18 months since some of my reports on gluten-free food trends — 2009 was supposed to be the year of gluten-free…then it continued to 2010.  Now half way into 2010 we’re hearing this:  “Judging from this show you’d think the whole world had celiac disease”…O-O-O-O AH-AH-AH the US is finally coming to understand our master plan!!!!!

Okay, I’m just teasing, but the previous quote is real, pulled from Jennifer Lea Cohan, a publicist who works with the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade.  She was quoted in a New York Times Blog post about the Fancy Food Show Tuesday.

The Business of Gluten-Free

According to the NYT Blog there were 2440 companies exhibiting.  And just by my calculations on the Fancy Food Show’s website with 209 gluten free companies there, they represented nearly 10 percent of the exhibitors.  In my estimation that’s a pretty good showing.

According to the NYT Blog:

Some examples: Famous Organics falafel chips; Mediterranean snacks gluten-free baked lentil chips; Zocolo’s line of “heritage” flours from quinoa, mesquite and amaranth; and raw vegan ice cream made with cashew milk (Raw Ice Cream Company’s mint chip was tolerable).

The show is for everyone from retailers to food service providers. It is the latest slam dunk by gluten-free companies getting the word out to the greater public about the call for gluten-free food.  The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness had a huge presence at the National Restaurant Association last spring too.

Gluten-Free Bisquick; Photo Courtesy: liveglutenfreely.com

General Mills Gluten Free Success

Add to that the announcement on Tuesday that General Mills had a great 2010 fiscal year, up 1% in net earnings to $14.8 billion dollars.  Some of it had to do with the new  gluten-free line of dessert mixes.

Baking Products division net sales matched year-ago levels overall, but Betty Crocker brownies, cookie mixes and new gluten-free dessert mixes recorded good growth. For the company’s Small Planet Foods organic and natural product lines, net sales grew 3 percent.

This will likely just grow as gluten-sensitive people and those with celiac disease try some of the new products coming out by General Mills:  a Gluten-Free Bisquick and a Hamburger Helper.  General Mills also continues its dominance in this area with their website as well which is already highlighting the GF Bisquick. and the “Asian Helper Chicken Fried Rice” which appears to be the first gluten free “Helper” variety out there.

I was just on the LiveGlutenFreely Facebook page and people are talking about the aforementioned products and they seem delighted.  I’ll have to check in with my local Minnesota stores in the Twin Cities.  I haven’t seen them yet, but I should go look again. It would be nice if Minnesota could get them sooner than later– since General Mills is a MN company.

In the meantime, good work to all in not only working on getting new products out there, but marketing them to so many people!

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