Are consumers who say they’re avoiding gluten really just avoiding wheat? Can we trust survey data about the number of people following ‘gluten-free diets’? Are market researchers' (wildly differing) estimates about the size of the gluten-free market - and its predicted growth - to be trusted?
And celiacs aside, who exactly is the ‘gluten-free consumer’, and how many people really have gluten-sensitivity (given that estimates range from zero to pretty much all of us - and there is - as yet, no validated biomarker or diagnostic test for it)?
Are books like Grain Brain and Wheat Belly making a useful contribution to this debate?
To answer these questions, we’ve brought together four experts to separate fact from fiction in a live (and lively) online debate moderated by FoodNavigator-USA editor Elaine Watson.
The FoodNavigator-USA Forum: Gluten-free in Perspective , will run from 11.30am to 12.30pm EST on Wednesday April 30, 2014. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR FREE.
In the first 45 minutes, our expert panel will explore gluten-free market trends and growth opportunities; the science behind celiac disease, gluten intolerance and wheat allergy; the technical challenges of formulating great-tasting gluten-free products; and the latest consumer research.
The final 15 minutes will be devoted to Q&A, where listeners will be able to submit questions directly to the panel.
WHO IS ON THE PANEL?
TJ MCINTYRE, EVP Natural Brands, Boulder Brands
Boulder Brands has a dominant position in the US gluten-free market with the Udi’s and Glutino brands, which are growing at an explosive rate. If the firm’s initial focus was on retail, it is now aggressively going after drug, club and foodservice as well, says TJ McIntyre, who became EVP of the firms Natural brands including Earth Balance, Glutino and Udi’s in September 2012.
ALESSIO FASANO, M.D. , Director, Center for Celiac Research
World-renowned pediatric gastroenterologist and research scientist Dr. Fasano founded the Center for Celiac Research in 1996. (The Center moved from Maryland to Massachusetts General Hospital in 2013). In 2003, he published the groundbreaking study in the Annals of Medicine that established the prevalence rate of celiac disease at one in 133 people in the US.
DAVID SHELUGA, PhD, Director commercial insights, ConAgra Mills
Dr. Sheluga has held senior consumer research roles at Keebler, Quaker Oats, NPD Group and ConAgra Foods, and is a recognized expert in what makes consumers tick.
TOM VIERHILE, Innovation Insights Director, Datamonitor
With more than two decades of experience in consumer packaged goods analysis and reporting, Vierhile spends “countless hours scanning store shelves for new products along with myriad trade show visits in search of new products and trends.”
WHAT WILL WE COVER?
1 – What is the latest science on celiac disease and gluten sensitivity?
What is celiac disease and how many people have it? One in 133? Is there a validated biomarker of gluten sensitivity, and if not, how do we know 6% might have it? Where does wheat allergy fit in, and how many people have it? Is the incidence of these conditions on the rise, and if so, why? Can humans cope with gluten, and are books such as ‘Grain Brain’ and ‘Wheat Belly’ making a useful contribution to this debate?
2 - How big is the gluten-free market and how is it evolving?
How big is the gluten-free market? How fast is it growing and how is it evolving? Which brands and companies are driving the market? Which products and categories have the most potential and where do store brands fit in? Where are the new growth opportunities in gluten-free? Drug? Club? Foodservice? And most importantly, can the meteoric growth continue?
3 - Who is the gluten-free consumer?
According to Packaged Facts, the “conviction that gluten-free products are generally healthier is the top motivation for purchase,” with 35% of consumers who buy gluten-free products saying they do so because they are "generally healthier,” 27% "to manage my weight,” 21% because they are "generally low-carb" and 15% because a member of the household has a gluten or wheat intolerance. Just 7% of consumers surveyed buy gluten-free products because a household member has celiac disease. So who is the gluten-free consumer?
4 - What's next for gluten-free products?
Is the gluten-free toolkit getting better? Are gluten-free products healthy? And do consumers now expect them to be non-GMO and ‘all-natural’ too? What new products are out there? Where are the gaps in the market?
The debate will be broadcast live at 11.30am EST on Wednesday April 30. It will also be available afterwards on demand - but only to registered delegates.
To tune into this event, CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR FREE.