The Rising Demand for Gluten-Free FoodApproximately 1 in 100 people in the UK suffer from gluten intolerance, also known as coeliac disease, and the consumption of gluten-free products is on the rise. There are potential ways of answering the demand for gluten-free alternatives and keeping customers happy.
Sales of gluten-free products are on the rise. According to IRI, UK sales of gluten and wheat-free foods have continued to grow since they reached £114m in 2012, while Kantar Worldpanel values the sector a little higher, at £136m.
Sales are thought to have increased by 23% within the last year and will continue to grow.
The demand for gluten-free products is not only coming from coeliacs as gluten-free foods are popular with people following low-carb diets. Having gluten free options or substitutions is a good way to capture even more customers.
What exactly is gluten intolerance?
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition affecting the small intestine. The immune system mistakes the proteins in gluten as a threat to the body and attacks them. This damages the surface of the small intestine, disrupting the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. It causes digestive problems and can lead to forms of malnutrition and, if unrecognised, further health problems.
And consumers are demanding more gluten-free options. This doesn’t mean a complete rehaul of your menu, but there are some easy ways to introduce gluten-free alternatives on your menu.
Answering the demand for gluten-free food alternatives
Here are three tips for introducing gluten-free ingredients to your menu:
The storage and preparation of gluten-free foods should be separate from foods containing gluten. The two should never come into contact with each other, as the slightest amount of gluten can lead to adverse reactions.
2. Food hygiene:
Surfaces must be washed down before preparing gluten-free food. Separate kitchen utensils and pans should also be used. Do not deep-fry gluten-free foods in oil which has previously been used for foods that contain gluten, such as batters or breadcrumb coatings.
3. Choice of ingredients:
You can use flours and starches made out of maize, rice,potatoes, quinoa, amaranth, teff, tapioca, lentils and chestnuts as well as gluten-free flour mixes. Any sauces with traces of gluten should be avoided. Sauces containing maize or potato starches and salad dressings made from vinegar and oil can be used.