Packaged Facts: Gluten-free category gains momentum

NEW YORK — Gluten-free products, once regarded as a niche category, have become mainstream, according to new research by Packaged Facts.

The Packaged Facts report, "Gluten-Free Foods and Beverages in the U.S., Third Edition," found that the gluten-free food and beverage market reached an estimated $2.6 billion in retail sales in 2010. Packaged Facts added that it projects the gluten-free products market will grow to $6 billion in 2015.

"People with celiac disease have been the natural drivers of the gluten-free market," said Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. "However, there is evidence suggesting that eliminating gluten from the diet may relieve autism in children and adult rheumatoid arthritis. Add to that the healthy 'aura' some consumers have attached to gluten-free products, and you create a demand for these foods and beverages that mainstream food manufacturers and retailers are increasingly happy to satisfy."

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