The rise of the gluten free lifestyle has resulted in the U.S gluten free food and beverage industry gaining an estimated worth of $4 billion. What began out of necessity to cater for sufferers of both coeliac disease and those that have a sensitivity to gluten, has now expanded and gained unstoppable traction.
Doctor Sheila Crowe, a professor of gastroenterology, claimed in the New York Times that Irish people are more susceptible as they have genes which are predisposed to Coeliac disease. Approximately one in one hundred Irish people suffer from coeliac disease (45,000 of the entire population). In the past, issues have surrounded the diagnosis, or lack thereof Coeliac disease. Generally, when sufferers are eventually diagnosed, they have often suffered from the symptoms for many years. Naturally, gluten free products were initially targeted at a demographic of those who needed to purchase out of necessity. Renowned by broader society for being tasteless, dry and dissatisfying to the point that one would be left with a yearning for the conventional ingredient list, gluten free products were shunned during the average grocery shop. Recently however, steps have been taken to cast a wider net over the consumer market and the success is phenomenal. Retailers have altered the in store layout of gluten free products and tweaked branding efforts have made products easily recognisable.
Despite their being a noticeable difference on pricing between standard products and those that are gluten free, 59% of female consumers who do not need to purchase out of dietary necessity, agree that the extra cost is worth it. This is a true testament to the improved quality of gluten free products and the increased awareness of dietary alternatives within the market. Many now opt for a gluten free lifestyle to aid in weight loss efforts and there is a noticeable societal perception of a gluten free diet being healthier.
Coeliac disease occurs when an individual has hypersensitivity to gluten in the small intestine, which in turn leads to complications with food digestion. The scope of the gluten free empire is no longer confined merely to the realms of consumption, gluten free beauty products are now available. JÄSŌN® for example offers a range of gluten free products from shampoo to hand and body lotion. There are reports of Coeliacs suffering from rashes and swollen eyes as a result of unknowingly using makeup which contained traces of gluten. Although many medical experts will argue that there is no supporting evidence to prove that beauty products containing gluten can cause irritation to the skin of Coeliacs, there are documented accounts of visible symptoms remaining until a change was made.
The rise of gluten free is not down to any one factor. Contributing factors to this market shift are: readily available information, better diagnosis and an increased interest in consumer health and dietary choices. The rise of gluten free is one of the most prominent changes in the health food sphere to date and based on the noticeable evolution over the past few years, it is certainly not a movement to be dismissed as a fad.
Speak to a health store assistant for some expert advice on suitable gluten free products and supplements.