Head down the grocery store aisle where the granola bars are sold
and a new package label is showing up. “Nut-free” or “no nut” bars are becoming more popular in the US. Gluten-free products are no longer in a tiny section of the store – their presence is becoming much larger, and necessitating more product facings due to customer demand.
While many American and international consumers purchase these “free-from” products as a means of preventing allergic reactions, many purchases are by “food avoiders” – health-conscious consumers who are making lifestyle choices to avoid certain ingredients in the diet.
More often, formulators are being asked to remove or leave out certain ingredients to meet the demands of this growing segment. Sometimes these ingredients are essential to the integrity of the product, requiring a complete reformulation. At other times alternative ingredients are all that is needed, as in when a non-GMO version is requested.
This segment has become so popular that there is now an annual Free-From Food Expo in the UK, to help formulators locate products to fill this niche. This covers a multitude of “free-from” areas including ingredients free of gluten, lactose, wheat, egg, yeast, GMOs, sugar, salt, and others.
Read Mintel’s update on gluten-free and lactose-free products entering the market, and some ideas on what will impact further growth in this area.
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