The Gluten Free Food Industry
January 15, 2011
Current Marketing Perspectives
Overview of Gluten free Market
If you walk into a grocery store today, chances are there is going to an aisle or at least a section dedicated to gluten free food; nevertheless, this was not always the case. The United State’s gluten free market has become increasingly popular during the last decade. Gluten free food gained significant recognition and emerged from its shadow with the help of celebrities such as Chelsea Clinton whose wedding cake was entirely gluten free or Madonna who had gluten free treats at her birthday (Cleveland.com.) Prior to this, there was very little knowledge regarding gluten intolerances, and testing for gluten related issues. This inevitably led to a smaller market. Thus, as new information and testing methods have been discovered over the past years, it has helped established a larger market for gluten free food and a multi million dollar industry. The gluten free food market has experienced tremendous growth during the past ten years. The expansion of the gluten free market along with the FDA’s response to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, pushed to examine what exactly gluten free means and which products should be deemed gluten free (Allar.) In 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration proposed that gluten free entails a product that does not contain any reminisce of wheat, rye, or barley. By defining this term, it created uniform conditions to determine whether products are gluten free. Therefore, when a product is labeled gluten free, individuals have a consistent understanding of what this entails (U.S. Food and Drug Administration.) The Gluten free Certification Organization has certified products that are labeled gluten free. The Gluten free Certification Organization inspects all products in attempts to find any traces of gluten before declaring the product gluten free. Labeling products is voluntary, as the need for gluten free food within the market expands, more and more companies are beginning to label their products and explore the gluten free food industry. The gluten free food market is comprised of products that serve as substitutes for customary grain-based products. Rather then using flour, wheat, rye, or barley, gluten free foods are made using alternatives. These items “such as rice, corn, amaranth and quinoa” are used to make products such as cereals, breads, pastas and many other goods During 2006 around 40% of gluten free foods were sold in natural food stores while only 14% of gluten free foods were sold in supermarkets; nevertheless, due to the increase in market demand, gluten free foods are now readily available in most local grocery stores. Another main outlet where gluten free foods are sold is online or through catalog purchases (Food Navigator-USA.com.) According to Udi’s co-founder Etai Bar-On, Udi’s largest margin of sales comes from online sales (Bar-On.) As the gluten free food market adapts and expands so do the outlets where products are sold.
Online marketing has become one of the best ways to connect with the gluten free market. When individuals are first diagnosed with celiac disease or deicide to go gluten free, they turn to the Internet to obtain information. Thus, companies that offer gluten free products have found it to be very beneficial to use the Internet as a means of communication with consumers. Graph B demonstrates that as the gluten free market expands, the search volume for gluten free foods will increase as well. The most common way that companies have used online marketing is through buying keywords that coincide with gluten free (Allar.) Udi’s used to do very little marketing because they did not see it as beneficial; nevertheless, as the market expands they have felt the need to market their brand. The first action they took in marketing was buying keywords. According...
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