Despite gluten-free product boom, celiac disease may be widely undiagnosed
CHICAGO — New research from Mintel suggested that the number of consumers that are gluten-intolerant/sensitive or have been diagnosed with celiac disease should be much greater.
The firm said that the gluten-free industry has grown 27% since 2009 and exceeded $6 billion in 2011, thanks to new products (Mintel’s Global New Products Database found that product launches with a gluten-free claim nearly tripled in 2011 to roughly 1,700 products, compared with 2007); however, only 1% of consumers reported they have been diagnosed with celiac disease, and only 8% said they are gluten-intolerant/sensitive. Mintel said it believes the number of those with the condition should be closer to 15%.
"The prevailing problem is that many Americans simply may not realize they are gluten-intolerant/sensitive, or they may be ignoring signs and symptoms," said David Browne, senior analyst at Mintel. "While food companies may be overdoing it unnecessarily with gluten-free label claims that are appearing on everything from tomato sauce to scallops, the message is getting out and it’s likely that many more consumers will engage in the sector, both for foods eaten at home and at restaurants."
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Flat sales float category
Sales of hot and cold breakfast cereals have been flat. “Consumers are faced with many breakfast options each day,” said David Browne, senior analyst at Mintel International Group. “While most do eat breakfast, it may mean a cereal/snack bar, yogurt, eggs, toast/bagels, baked goods or fast food restaurant options.” The popularity of egg-based breakfast sandwiches, particularly those available at fast food outlets, has surged. Consumers increasingly are buying breakfast outside the home.
Cereal prices also have been rising or in some cases, have stayed the same while package size has shrunk, according to Browne. “Consumers are looking for value in the sector and are increasingly keenly aware of how much cereal they are getting for the $3 to $5 purchase,” he said.
All leading brands are experiencing flat sales, with Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Raisin Bran, Special K and Rice Krispies, and General Mills’ Cheerios showing some of the biggest dips between 2007 and 2010.
Those products are most vulnerable to private-label competition. “As leading companies and lesser companies are all flat or in decline, store brands are really the only bright spot in the category,” Browne said. Private label, which collectively accounts for only about 12% of sales overall, according to Mintel, saw sales grow more than 3% last year.
All-natural cold cereal sales also are up. “It’s now a $560 million subsector, led by Kellogg and its Kashi brand,” Browne said. Among brands, General Mills’ Multi-Grain Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch were two strong players, which have had gains for the past few years.
In a recent Mintel survey, 69% of cereal consumers said whole grain is important in products they chose to eat, and 63% said the same of multigrains. “We may start seeing more of these types of products in the future,” Browne said.
Despite manufacturers reducing the amount of sugar in their products, high-sugar cereal is outperforming low-sugar. Sales of low-sugar products were down 2.9%, while sales of products with 26% or more of the recommended daily intake of 40 g were ahead 1.1%, according to Mintel.
The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Cereal Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.
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Skinny Nutritional, Cliffstar enter deal
BALA CYNWYD, Pa. — Skinny Nutritional has entered an agreement with Cott’s Cliffstar subsidiary to expand the availability of Skinny Nutritional’s line of Skinny Water zero-calorie enhanced beverages.
Through the partnership, Skinny Water zero-calorie enhanced beverages will be exclusively manufactured and distributed by Cliffstar to selected new and existing customers through its retail channels, providing increased scalability for the Skinny Water brand. This agreement spans beverage production, raw materials procurement, research and development, freight management and retail inventory management.
"We are extremely excited to announce this strategic relationship with Cliffstar," Skinny Nutritional CEO Michael Salaman said. "This agreement allows us to do business with some of the largest retailers in the country and concentrate our resources on marketing and sales. We will be closely working with Cliffstar to introduce and aggressively market Skinny Water throughout the territory. As demand continues to rise, our retail channels are becoming increasingly aware that the concept of ‘skinny’ works everywhere."
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