WFFC Cincinnati Presents: Gluten-Free Industry: Trend, Lifestyle, or Disease?
By: Ashley E. Miller (MANE, Inc.)
On a warm October evening, the Cincinnati Chapter of WFFC gathered at MANE, Inc. in Lebanon, Ohio to learn more about the history and hype surrounding the gluten-free lifestyle choice and subsequent industry reactions. Allison Kuhn, Corporate Director of Dietetics for The Kroger Company, defined gluten and celiac disease. She then elaborated on other related, health conditions, such as wheat allergy and non-celiac gluten intolerance. Approximately 22% of the U.S. population is currently following a gluten-free diet, and of these followers, 80% are self-prescribed gluten-free diet followers. In comparison, approximately 1% of the U.S. population has been diagnosed with celiac disease, a number that has remained relatively stable over the past several years.
Allison then provided the group with a snapshot of the gluten-free industry and manufacturing trends. Sales of gluten-free products reached $8 billion and have a projected annual growth rate of 20% through the year 2019. Food and beverage manufacturers continue to support the gluten-free lifestyle, and there seems to be no slowing down to this lifestyle trend. So what’s next for gluten-free formulated foods? Look for nutritional add-ons such as high fiber claims or vegetable-based offerings. But first, a second helping of the delicious gluten-free carrot cake cupcakes provided by Bite Restaurant.
The WFFC Cincinnati Chapter would like to thank each of our guests for their attendance, MANE, Inc. for hosting us, and Allison Kuhn for sharing her knowledge and expertise.