Guest article

One quarter of consumers in Saudi Arabia look to avoid gluten

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: GettyImages/zimmytws
Pic: GettyImages/zimmytws

Related tags: FMCG Gurus, Saudi arabia, gluten free diet

Research shows that the gluten-free trend that is well established in Saudi Arabia, with around one quarter of consumers claiming to eliminate gluten from their diet, writes Mike Hughes, director of Insights for FMCG Gurus.
Mike Hughes
Mike Hughes

The tendency to follow such a dietary plan is not a new craze in the country. Nor is it done specifically for allergy and intolerance reasons. Instead, it is something that is linked to improving overall health.

In Q3 2019, FMCG Gurus surveyed 1,000 consumers in Saudi Arabia on the topic of immunity.

The research found that a total of 23% of consumers say they make conscious attempts to avoid the ingredient when it comes to daily diets.

For many of these consumers, the tendency to have eliminated gluten from their diet is not a new trend, with only 14% saying they have adjusted their eating and drinking habits in the past 12 months. This shows that there is a core group of consumers who have been avoiding gluten for a considerable time.

Choosing the lifestyle

Moreover, the tendency to lead a gluten-free diet is not just driven by consumers having an allergy or intolerance. Indeed, when questioned why they follow the diet, only 29% quoted allergy or intolerance.

While the most popular answer, this means that seven out of 10 consumers in the country are not following such a dietary plan for this specific reason.

The second most popular answers were digestion problems (28%) and to lose weight (also 28%). This shows that avoiding gluten is associated with an array of health benefits.

This is furthered by the fact that 40% of those who have given up gluten say they feel healthier for doing so, with feeling more refreshed (60%) and being less prone to illness (58%) the two benefits that consumers are most likely to cite.

Opportunity to innovate

Given that consumers are being more attentive to their eating habits than ever before as they make the link between diet and long-term health, the gluten-free market is one that will continue to grow over the next decade.

When it comes to the gluten-free market in Saudi Arabia, a total of 39% say they find leading such a diet to be a challenge.

This shows that more can be done from a new product development perspective, to reduce the chance of such dietary plans being associated with compromise and sacrifice.

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