Everybody seems to be jumping on the gluten-free train. Recent estimates suggest that the market for gluten-free products has grown by 28 percent between 2008 and 2012 and will reach $4.2 billion this year.
A report from Packaged Facts that carried the market analysis for gluten-free products said that some 18 percent adults in August 2012, who participated in a consumer survey, had said that they consumed foods that were labeled gluten-free compared to some 15 percent of the participants in the year 2010.
Why do people go gluten-free?
One of the biggest reasons is that many people are now being diagnosed with celiac disease and other food allergies. An estimated one of every 100 U.S. whites has celiac disease - a condition that damages the lining of small intestines. People with celiac disease have trouble absorbing nutrients from foods like wheat, barley and rye that have gluten.
According to National Institute of Health's PubMed, "celiac disease cannot be cured. However, your symptoms will go away and the villi in the lining of the intestines will heal if you follow a lifelong gluten-free diet. Do not eat foods, beverages, medications that contain wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats."
Some experts say that it is possible for some people to have sensitivity towards gluten but not a full-blown allergic reaction that involves antibodies. But, experts say that symptoms are severe in patients with gluten sensitivity.
According to Packaged Facts, awareness of allergies associated with food, availability of gluten-free products, the trend of family or friends going gluten-free to support a person who has real allergy to gluten and a belief that gluten-free food is healthy are some of the other reasons that have increased sales of these products.
The sale of gluten-free products is expected to hit $6.6 billion by the year 2017, according to Packaged Facts.