The meteoric rise of gluten-free marketing

By Trisha CalvoConsumer Reports

Despite the fact that it's not necessary or healthy for everyone to follow a gluten-free diet, more and more products on supermarket shelves carry a gluten-free claim. Since 2012 sales of gluten-free products have risen 63 percent, with 4,599 products introduced last year. For marketers, it’s a gold mine. The label can lead to increased sales and premium pricing, says Richard George, a food marketing expert. “Perception is reality, and if consumers believe gluten-free products are better, then logic no longer matters.” Here, some gluten-free items*:

Potato chips

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The No. 1 no-gluten snack. (They’re naturally free of gluten.) Sales of products with the label have soared 456 percent since 2012.

Pet products

Last year almost twice as many gluten-free pet foods were launched than breakfast cereals.

Beauty and home items

Beauty and hair products, and even household cleaners, carry the label.

Source: Mintel Group

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