One in five (20%) Irish people shop for gluten free food regularly, according to new Bord Bia research.
The gluten free market in Ireland is estimated to be worth some €66 million, experiencing a 36% increase since last year (Kantar Worldpanel).
Despite only 1% of the Irish population having been medically diagnosed with coeliac disease, the research found that a gluten free diet is particularly popular amongst the upper and middle class earners, over indexing in the Munster area and amongst pre and older families.
Bord Bia believes a huge opportunity exists for the Irish food industry in the gluten free sector. Bord Bia’s research found that baking and cooking ingredients such as sauces, frozen foods, noodles and alcoholic drinks were the areas shoppers indicated as poor offerings.
The global market for gluten free products is worth $3.5 billion and growing at 5% annually with some European markets growing at over 20%.
Bord Bia delivered the research results at an insight session in Bord Bia’s new research centre, the Thinking House, to over 35 businesses.
Bord Bia’s Consumer Insight Manager, Paula Donoghue said, "As a nation, we’re increasingly conscious of our diet with 87% believing we have a healthy diet. Some 78% of Irish people who follow a gluten free diet are not diagnosed as coeliac. Nearly half of these (38%) do not have any intolerance to wheat or sensitivities, but perceive gluten free to be a healthier lifestyle choice."
She added, "Traditionally, gluten free offerings were only available in pharmacies or health food stores, whereas now there is proliferation right across the retail chain. The market has experienced an increase in the number of available products as well as double digit growth in supermarkets. There is a lot of noise around the topic, whether it is from celebrity advocates such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Novak Djokovic, or chefs, nutritionists and bloggers."