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The Free-From Segment Is Growing, With An Emphasis on Gluten-Free

October 30, 2017

The term “free-from” can include a variety of items that consumers actively avoid, such as sugar, sodium, dairy and GMOs. However, the free-from trend that has grown into the largest legitimate market segment is gluten-free. There are entire sections of recipe websites devoted to gluten-free cooking. Instagram boasts more than 17 million posts that include #glutenfree. Even the Financial Times reported this year how the gluten-free trend is impacting commodities producers. The global gluten-free retail market has grown from $1.7bn in 2011 to $3.5bn in 2016—and is forecast to grow to $4.7bn in 2020, according to Euromonitor.

While there are a number of consumers who experience legitimate food sensitivities and intolerances, the rise in free-from more directly correlates with a desire for foods that reflect less industrialization, and omit suspect ingredients and processing methods. The elimination of food ingredients and components from everyday foods resonates with consumers on avoidance diets, and their numbers are growing, either for real medical reasons or perceived wellness benefits.

Gluten avoidance continues to center on good digestion and general health (rather than a true allergy). According to the Hartman Group’s Organic v. Natural 2016 Syndicated Study, 25% of consumers say gluten-free is an important consideration when selecting food and beverages for purchase, and a whopping 60% are consuming foods labeled gluten-free at least occasionally.

Non-gluten whole grains and their naturally existing fiber have a significant health and wellness halo due to digestive health benefits. Furthermore, grains such as oats, quinoa, brown rice and buckwheat often meet higher quality standards than their traditional counterparts.

Edlong delivers authentic taste in gluten-free and whole-grain formulations

At Edlong, we have long been familiar with how gluten-free formulations and whole grains affect the texture and taste of foods. Our food scientists work with as many gluten-free products as possible, applying their dairy flavor expertise to determine just the right way to use Edlong flavors to improve a product and create authentic dairy taste.

Whether you need assistance masking a bitter or off-note from a whole grain, or adding a savory cheese or butter note to a gluten-free snack, our flavorists, application scientists, food technologists and sensory specialists work together to address your product development challenges and help discover unexpected ways to solve problems with dairy flavors.