Gluten-free food offerings on the rise, report finds

NEW YORK Gluten-free products are becoming the norm as the rate of celiac disease has risen, a Nielsen report has found.

Sales of gluten-free products increased 74% from 2004 to 2009, Nielsen said, and are projected to grow from 15% to 25% a year. The gluten-free market is expected to reach approximately $2.6 billion in sales by 2012. In a February report, the consumer research company found that 62% of store brands claim to be gluten-free, totaling $279 million. In 2008, sales of gluten-free products increased 20% — from $1.46 billion to $1.75 billion — during the 12-month period ended June 14, 2008.

Meanwhile, in a 2008 report, Nielsen underscored the rise in private-label sales, specifically in gluten-free and probiotic categories, citing that consumers “continue to make health and wellness a priority and sales show that [such] products resonate with today’s health-conscious consumers, another avenue for private-label products.”

Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease in which people suffer from gluten intolerance, causes such symptoms as malnutrition and damage to the small intestine. This month is National Celiac Disease Awareness Month.

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