The global gluten-free market is projected to reach US$6.2 billion by 2018, with North America contributing about 59% of the share. Canada’s own gluten-free market is about $450 million per year.
The demand for gluten-free products has seen tremendous growth over the past five years, in the ballpark of about 26%! Marketing experts predict a slower growth over the next five years, to about 10%. That’s likely because trusted health professionals are explaining that gluten-free diets are not a solution for obesity, and consumer perceptions of its healthfulness are slowly beginning to wane.
There will always be a market for gluten-free products that help add variety to the diet of people with celiac disease, wheat allergies or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which account for about 5% of the population. However, sales data indicate that about 22% of Canadians currently buy gluten-free products.
Why the rise in gluten-free?
When surveyed, many Canadians on gluten-free diets indicate that they have chosen this diet “to feel better,” not because of a medical diagnosis. The Gluten-Free study surveyed 2,530 Canadians about the reasons why they avoid gluten, and the most commonly reported answers were:
• improved gastrointestinal health (52%)
• healthier weight (36%)
• improved activity levels (32%)
• better mood (31%)
These are important figures, because they indicate that the diet is not always for a medical need, and these Canadians can stop the diet as quickly as they started it. That’s a stark contrast from those who have medical conditions which require a gluten-free diet for life.
Interestingly, of those Canadians who have made the switch to gluten-free, 15% have eliminated or reduced gluten to support a family member on the gluten-free diet. That means they are being more conscious when they grocery shop or dine out to ensure that no trace of gluten is found in their cart or on their plate.
To meet consumer demand, food manufacturers are making wheat-free versions of carb-heavy staples, from pasta to bread to cereal. Even foods that never contained gluten are now bearing a “gluten-free” claim on their package to catch the consumer’s eye.
In addition to the usual wheat-containing foods like bagels and cake, gluten can also be present in small amounts when it is used as a thickener, stabilizer or as part of a seasoning blend. In this case, gluten can be hiding in unsuspected places such as ice cream, dry-roasted nuts and deli meats. Smart shoppers have to be savvy label readers to ensure they buy foods that do not contain gluten.
In October 2014, Maple Leaf re-introduced its popular Sure Slice and Main Street Deli Pre-Sliced Deli meats as gluten-free. For the ultimate satisfaction of our foodservice customers, gluten-free deli meat was a must-do. In addition to being gluten-free, Sure Slice and Main Street Deli Turkey Breast and Ham deli meats are also now lower in sodium, easier to peel and portion, and have an enhanced flavour profile.
Another gluten-free product introduced in 2014 was our Country Sausage. Most recently, in April 2015, Maple Leaf re-introduced Grilled & Ready Chicken and Turkey Strips to be gluten-free. At the same time, we reduced sodium in each of these products by 48% and 58% respectively.
Finally, Maple Leaf just introduced a product that everyone is looking for – Fully Cooked Diced Turkey that also happens to be gluten-free. And this is just the beginning – watch for many more gluten-free options in the near future!
FULLY COOKED DICED TURKEY
Tender ½” pieces of whole muscle turkey breast
Canadian farm raised and processed in Canada
100% whole muscle breast meat
Only 190mg of sodium per 60g
13g of protein per 60g
Low in fat and saturated fat
Trans fat free
Pack Size: 2x2kg
Case Yield: 66 x 60g
Try this product in a Turkey Waldorf Salad!