An increasing amount of consumers prefer foods without artificial ingredients or long ingredient lists, but one thing American consumers clearly want less of is gluten, according to a new study from Packaged Facts.
According to the report, Gluten-Free Foods in the U.S., 5th Edition, 37 percent of surveyed consumers said gluten-free/wheat-free is an important factor when shopping for food, and 13 percent indicated it was very important. In addition, 9 percent of consumers actively avoid gluten.
Packaged Facts said in the past three months a quarter of the respondents purchased or used products labeled as gluten-free. Of these consumers, 25 percent cited “superior healthfulness” of gluten-free foods as a primary reason of purchase.
This confirms that the perceived healthfulness of gluten-free foods is a strong selling point for food manufacturers—especially tortilla chips.
“Even those who are not gluten-sensitive are attracted to gluten-free salty snacks because they seem to add another check mark to the list of perceived requirements for better-for-you salty snacks," said David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts.
Packaged Facts said salty snacks lead gluten-free sales by an overwhelming margin, with its 61 percent share dwarfing that of crackers in the number-two spot with 16 percent and third-place pasta with less than 7 percent share.