It wasn’t long ago that finding gluten free foods—those made without cereal grains like wheat—on a menu or in a grocery store was a rarity. In fact, 10 years ago, most of us didn’t know what gluten was. If you had a gluten intolerance or allergy like Celiac disease, dinner parties and eating out became things you vehemently avoided.
A $15 Billion Industry by 2016
Fast forward 10 years and the glutenless business is a $10.5 billion industry according to Mintel market research. The company estimates gluten free sales will rise to $15 billion in 2016.
Comparing a list of nearly 800 keywords about Gluten, we can see that monthly searches about Gluten and Celiac Disease range from 2.4 to 3.4 million.
A preview query of Channel Signal data estimates that there are nearly 660,000 English posts on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and WordPress alone about Gluten each month. A preview of related keywords that are used in those posts:
Which locals have the most sensitivities to gluten? Let’s analyze the search data containing gluten terms, by country and then by state:
How Does it Stack up to Other Food-Related Topics?
Google searches containing gluten have been on a dramatic upward swing since 2005, and are forecasted to continue upward. But how does the concern over gluten compare to other food-related issues? The data below shows consumer searches on Google from 2004 to present.
Some key takeaways from the graphs:
- While “organic” is still more highly searched than “gluten”, it has remained relatively flatlined save for a few ups and downs since 2005.
- “Gluten” has been trending upward since 2010 and is still on the rise.
- “Low Carb” and “Low Fat” have declined since 2004, but note the uptick at the beginning of every year (can you say “New Year’s Resolution”?)
- The only other food trend with a recent upswing is “GMO”, which started rising in 2012.
Whether you’re a granola bar company or a health food store or you’re anywhere near the food industry, you must understand the conversation that is happening around gluten in America and around the world. Consumers are interested, concerned and taking action; and so should you.