I can’t tell you how awesome it is to have a good selection of gluten free products at my local grocery store. After years of store managers looking at me like I was CRAZY simply asking for them to carry a gluten free pretzel, it is nice to feel like the not-so-unpopular kid on the block.
In the last few years the selection of yummy gluten free foods has been awesome (although much of it is highly processed). But even though we’re not eating highly-processed foods often, it is sort of comforting to know they exist. Let’s be honest, it is possible some of the newer gluten free treats wouldn’t be around if the so-called gluten free food fad never existed. But are the gluten free foods we have come to know and LOVE, here to stay??
A new article from seekingalpha.com looks at two potential food fads: gluten free diet foods and stevia (sweetener). It questions whether either of them here to stay or are they something that will be the “next health food fads to find their way to the discount aisles?”
We won’t be delving in the stevia side of the article today, but the writer talks about how the Atkins diet came and went– hurting Krispy Kreme and General Mills’ low-carb line with it. So General Mills moved into the gluten free market. It mentions even Kellogg’s didn’t want to do gluten free, but eventually came around and created the Brown Rice Gluten Free Rice Krispies. That’s the power the gluten free trend has had.
According to research by Mintel, gluten free sales could be between $8-9 billion dollars in 2013. But because more companies are creating gluten free products and more people are buying them, the writer says it, “does not mean that it is not a fad.” He delves into Annie’s products, which makes a few gluten free foods. He questions whether Annie’s could be at risk if the gluten free “fad” goes away. If the trendy diet folks abandon gluten free food to turn to the next health craze, the author points out, 3 million people who have celiac disease is “hardly enough to turn gluten free anything more than a fad for those other than Celiac sufferers.”
While that’s a relatively undecidedly negative look at the “fad”, on Monday, the Wall Street Journal website had RBC saying Smart Balance is a bit of a rising star in the stock market. Smart Balance is apparently considered a “Top Pick” for investors because the company focuses on gluten free and plant-based packaged foods which are two of the “stronger growth categories” right now according to RBC. Smart Balance owns Glutino and Udi’s; leaders in the gluten-free marketplace.
So it is clear that gluten free products, and the companies that make them, are definitely making Wall Street take notice. But they seem to be undecided about what the future holds.
Does the thought that gluten free products could fade away with a “fad” ever cross your mind or make you nervous? What would our options look like in a post-gluten-free-fad environment? Would they go back to the “olden days” of few and tasteless choices? Or do we think there still would be a place for gluten-free foods on mainstream store shelves?
What do you think? Feel free to post your comments below.