The times have changed over the last 10 years (and I am sure even before that), when gluten-free and celiac disease were not nearly the trend they are today. The trend has taken the US by storm over the last four years (see yesterday’s post), with the likes of professional athletes and celebrities taking on a gluten-free lifestyle.
Today we explore the next benefit I see coming from the gluten free trend. Don’t forget this isn’t the only one, I’ll be highlighting these over the next week or so– including some of the downsides to celiac and gluten free.
Benefit: New Gluten Free Products
The gluten-free market became a $4.2 billion business in 2012. That happened when the market exploded with new gluten-free-centric companies creating new food products and mainstream companies (like Hormel pictured right) making new products or modifying old ones to accommodate the gluten free diet.
Gluten intolerant and celiac folks went nuts with excitement! Gluten Free Chex, Gluten Free Rice Krispies, Bread that is gluten free– and actually resembles real bread! Then came hamburger and hot dog buns, cereal bars, ice cream sandwiches, english muffins, bagels, croutons, bread crumbs….should I keep going?
Brianne Roycraft, who has celiac disease is also a dietitian and owner of Personalized Nutrition, LLC based in Minnesota. She and I recently discussed the gluten free trend. When asked about the future of gluten free, she said, “…it seems almost daily there is some new product on the market for us to try. The foods available to us are also so much more nutritious than they used to be as companies take advantage of all the healthy grains that are safe for us to consume.”
That is correct. Many more companies are looking to add whole grains to their products and make them more nutritious. Last Fall, Udi’s launched a few new products like the Harvest Crunch Muffins that have Cranberries, sweet potato and quinoa flour in them.
With the boom of gluten free products it also does pose the question of standards for companies who put “gluten free” on their labels. The Food and Drug Administration was supposed to have that information out to us by now. But alas, it is still elusive. The labeling issue is for a whole other post.
Next Time: we look at the benefit of new resources that have spawned from the trend