Coeliac Awareness Week is upon us and it’s time to focus on all things gluten-free. But while those with the autoimmune disease are compelled to seek out the best of gluten free produce to maintain good digestion and live and lead healthy lives, there is a growing contingent of people who are opting to eat gluten-free for their own personal health reasons—a factor that’s helping to drive the market, and give people with coeliac (and even those without) increasing opportunities for some fantastic snack-food finds…
The Gluten-Free Market is bigger than people think!
With growing numbers of people either self-diagnosing as being gluten or wheat intolerant, largely because of the proliferation of freely available information on the internet, it is still estimated that there are around 500,000 people with coeliac who are yet to be officially diagnosed by a doctor.
According to Coeliac UK, the oldest and largest disease charity in the world, around 13% of people in the UK should avoid gluten, putting the target market for gluten-free products at around 8.7million people. However, the drive by independent snack brands to produce gluten-free snacks that taste great has helped draw this sector out of the margins and into the mainstream, propelling growth.
Today, the gluten-free market is worth around £365million (Mintel) and is estimated to hit around £540 million by the end of this year. Because of this significant trend shift, gluten-free has become a baseline for many brands, a common denominator across all products within their ranges — Delicious Ideas Flapjacks and TRIBE energy bars are good examples of this.
As mainstream retailers and contract caterers begin to sell an ever-diversifying range of great tasting, gluten-free snacks, people with coeliac disease now benefit from an ever-widening array of delicious products.
It’s for these reasons, as well as an increase in the number of lifestylers — people choosing ‘free from’ snacks by preference rather than necessity — that the upward curving trend is set to continue.
DIFG and gluten-Free
Delicious Ideas Food Group (DIFG), has championed gluten-free for a long time, having its our own range of bulk produce and snacks in the category—many of which are vegan—while also stocking and distributing a huge range of products from new and leading independent brands (see the full list here).
Above all, what’s become clear over recent years is that cutting out gluten doesn’t mean compromising on flavour. All of the gluten-free products produced, stocked and distributed by DIFG deliver on taste and texture, and also look striking on the stands and shelves.
A lip-smacking list of the best in gluten-free snacking
Here are the gluten-free healthy snacking and confectionery brands currently available from DIFG...
- Delicious Ideas flapjacks
- Healthy Ideas snacks
- KIND gluten-free snack bars
- Seed & Bean – NEW LAUNCH
- Boost ball
- 9 bars
- Perk!er Bars and Perk!er Bites
- Eat Real (coeliac approval)
- Metcalfe Rice Cakes
- Eat Natural
- Nut and Sesame Bars
- BEAR Fruit Snacks
- Nakd Bars
- TREK Bars
- Tray bakes and tray cakes
- Bad-Ass Brownie Traybakes
- Shortcake Traybakes
- Oat Traybakes
- Tray Cakes
The proof is in the pudding
A case in point of how tasty gluten-free can be is one of the bakery products recently discovered and now distributed by DIFG. The bad-ass chocolate brownie smashed all expectations of what, from an organoleptic point of view, could be achieved in a gluten-free commercial environment when it scooped a Great Taste Award.
Creator of the badass brownie and Bakeshed founder Will Rhys-Davies said: ‘At the moment there’s this idea that whenever you see ‘gluten-free’ or ‘vegan’ on the label that it’s not going to taste very nice, and we wanted to change that view.’
With gluten-free bakery so notoriously hard to perfect, winning a Great Taste Award highlights to what extent the quest for flavour and texture is being realised by independent food producers.
A sample of what’s on offer for coeliac sufferers
‘Things like this indicate why the GF sub-sector of the food and snacking industry is in such rude health,’ says DIFG CEO, Jonathan Potter ‘What’s really exciting is these snacks are being chosen over and above snacks that do contain gluten. Personally, I’m not gluten intolerant, but I eat gluten-free snacks all the time because they now taste so good.’
He adds, ‘It’s pleasing to know that, after leaping so many hurdles over the last ten or so years, we’ve reached a stage in the snacking industry where coeliac sufferers, in particular, don’t have to look far at all to find that tasty, nutritious snack they can really enjoy and actually want to eat.
‘We’ve come a long way from doctor-prescribed foods that tasted awful to quick bites that are simply a pleasure. As tastes and trends continue to evolve, I expect to see many more independent and disruptive brands entering this space.’