What’s the state of the gluten-free market in Europe?
It is still a growing market. Market research indicates that sales of gluten-free products have been growing at around 6% per year from 2015-2020. Competition in the market also seems to be increasing. When looking at our own database on products labelled with the Crossed Grain Symbol it has increased by 4% (CAGR) over the last three years.
What’s your assessment of its growth potential in Europe in the next few years?
It seems likely that growth in the market will continue. We continuously receive enquiries about obtaining the Crossed Grain Trademark at a steady pace, which indicates that the interest in entering this market is still strong. The growth potential is also related to the number of people being diagnosed. There is still work to be done in terms of raising awareness about the importance of early diagnosis, particularly for men who are currently under diagnosed. Furthermore, the growth potential is also related to eating healthily, which keeps increasing.
Are manufacturers doing enough to improve the taste, availability and price of gluten-free food products?
There is room for improvement. We would like food business operators to more often ask coeliac consumers about their preferences. In some European countries, initiatives have been taken to use members of coeliac societies as taste reference groups before launching new gluten-free food onto the market. This has clearly been an eye-opener for some producers when it comes to trying out taste and texture of products. This is something we would encourage more food business operators to do.
What recent trends do you see in gluten-free food?
New food technologies and research seem to be directed to improve gluten-free food products in their sensory characteristics (to look and taste more like their equivalent food with gluten). There is also a move to enhance the nutritional characteristics of gluten-free food as there is an awareness that in some cases, gluten-free foods might lack the nutrients that equivalent food with gluten might have. We also anticipate some innovation trends in developing specific products for children and for women.
What recent innovations in gluten-free food are you particularly optimistic about?
We don’t have the data to support if this trend is happening, but we would be particularly optimistic if the know-how to produce healthy and safe gluten-free food could be transferred to many countries so that costs of production could be reduced, making the final product more affordable for people who need to eat gluten-free foods.
What is the goal of AOECS at the FFF expo in Barcelona?
We want more food business operators to understand that labelling their products with independent certification marks plays a key role in helping consumers who really must eat gluten-free to find products that are safe for them to eat.