Looking for nutrition in gluten-free products

Celiacs and other consumers of gluten-free food are motived by nutrition and clean-eating. Company’s can follow these recommendations to improve their products’ appeal to this demographic.

With the tremendous growth in gluten-free foods, we take a deeper look into what consumers really want when they make their food choices. The Mintel Group Ltd released an Oct. 2015 report called Gluten-free Foods, which points out what really motivates consumers.

Those with celiac disease were found by Mintel to be more concerned about the nutritional value of gluten-free products, compared to those who had not been diagnosed. Celiacs were also found to be more concerned about gaining weight on a gluten-free diet. With this in mind, Mintel recommended that companies make gluten-free products that promote nutritional benefits and ingredients to appeal to those with celiac disease.

Mintel also reported that Celiacs were more likely to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Mintel suggests that manufacturers offer gluten-free products free of other common allergens, such as dairy, nuts or soy, or vegan or vegetarian options, knowing these consumers are more likely to look for these options.

Finally, heirloom and ancient grain ingredients were found to be a preference of Celiacs as they shopped for gluten-free foods. Several products across food categories incorporate gluten-free ancient grains, such as quinoa, chia, and amaranth, to boost fiber or protein.

Mintel suggests that manufacturers of gluten-free products improve the nutritional value of gluten-free products, perhaps with ancient grains or probiotics, and provide consumers with products that offer more complete nutrition.

If you’re interested in more on gluten-free foods, also see Gluten-free product and sales growth for information on the growth of this category and who is buying gluten-free foods.

The MSU Product Center, in partnership with Michigan State University Extension, provides business counseling for product development, packaging and marketing strategies that will help Michigan entrepreneurs commercialize high-value, consumer–responsive food products. For more information, visit the MSU Product Center website or call 517-432-8750.

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