The recent trend in gluten-free food products is here to stay, despite ongoing controversy. Some experts are convinced that a gluten-free lifestyle helps alleviate certain chronic health problems, whereas others assert that too many Americans are self-diagnosing themselves as gluten-sensitive. In any case, market research firm Packaged Facts reports that the gluten-free food market in the United States has grown 28% since 2008 to hit $4.2 billion in 2012.
Eighteen percent of adults are buying or consuming gluten-free food products, and health is their top motivation for doing so, according to Packaged Facts’ research director David Sprinkle. The Hartman Group supports this claim with market research that shows the leading reasons that Americans are going gluten-free include digestive health (39%), nutritional value (33%), and weight loss (25%).
If you work in the bar and restaurant industry, including gluten-free options is a simple way to attract health-minded customers and keep them coming back. If you’re a bar owner, offer a gluten-free beer option (a recent NPR piece breaks down some of the top choices) and keep gluten-free snacks on hand.
At a bakery, offering two or three options without gluten will help attract gluten-conscious diners; most baked goods have tasty gluten-free alternatives that take advantage of similar binding agents such as coconut flour and xanthan gum. And of course, once you begin offering gluten-free choices at your restaurant, bakery, or bar, make sure your current and prospective customers know about these options.
What tasty gluten-free products or ingredients have you found most successful? Please share them in the comments below.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Follow Rieva at Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for her free TrendCast reports.