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  • Bryce Crawford

Gluten-free flour market estimated at $5.6 billion, will grow 8.1% by 2026

A new report from market-research firm IndustryARC says the global market for gluten-free flour is estimated at $5.6 billion -- for comparison, the global wheat-flour market is $155 billion -- and is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 8.1% through 2026. In the U.S., three million Americans have celiac disease, with another 40 million reporting gluten sensitivity.

"The increased prevalence of celiac disease, as well as a growing population turning to healthier diets are driving the gluten-free flour industry," says the company in a news release. "Gluten intolerance is causing an increase in digestive and gastrointestinal disorders."

Some interesting tidbits:

  • Factors driving the increase include consumer behavior; favorable regulatory activities from the U.S. FDA; and an increase in obesity, diabetes and other health issues.

  • The segment includes amaranth, almond, oat, corn, bean, maize, and coconut flours. Of the list, almond flour is one of the most popular, while the market for amaranth flour is projected itself to grow by 8.7% by 2026.

  • Gluten-free "ready to eat" products are projected to grow by 8.9% by 2026, with a focus on items made from almond, bean, and buckwheat flour.

  • "Furthermore, increased public awareness of the health benefits of gluten-free products and rapid urbanization are expected to fuel expansion," says IndustryARC. "In the foreseeable future, the exponential expansion in population combined with limited time for home cooked meals will help to meet demand."

  • North America is the heavy hitter in global demand, accounting for 38% of total sales, not least because of rising obesity.

  • The report expects the number of North Americans with celiac will rise every 15 years.

  • "A gluten-free diet isn’t always a healthy diet, despite the fact that the public is migrating toward gluten-free dietary patterns for a variety of health reasons. Gluten-free flours can be extremely refined, lacking in fiber, and have a high glycemic index when used to manufacture gluten-free items like breads, spaghetti, pizza, and other bakery goods (GI).

  • "To mimic the taste, texture, and feel of conventional gluten-containing items, fats and sugar are occasionally added to gluten-free products or flours, which may create human health concerns.

  • "Gluten-free flours and starches are often low in fiber, micronutrients, and protein, and their glycemic index is greater."

(Image courtesy Bob's Red Mill)

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