In 2014 Kantar Worldpanel estimated the current size of the retail UK FreeFrom market at around £355m GBP and that 55.2% of the UK population is buying freefrom products. Mintel anticipate that sales will reach £538m GBP by 2018. Growth has been largely due to new shoppers entering the market. In 2013, 49% of gluten free customers were new to the category. Although only 1% of the UK population are estimated to be affected by coeliac disease, 55% of the market is made up of non-sufferers. More than half the UK population is now buying freefrom products.
There are a number of reasons for the strong growth seen in the freefrom sector: Celebrity endorsements – part of the recent success of the free-from category is thought to be due to healthy lifestyle positioning which is contributing to the influx of so-called “lifestylers” by receiving endorsement from various influential celebrities such as Novak Djokovic, Kim Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham. Improved diagnosis – Technology is helping doctors to identify allergies. The UK has one of the highest diagnosed allergy rates in the world. According to the NHS, one in three people in the UK suffers from an allergy including non food related allergies.
Gluten free foods are expected to remain the top food and nutrition trend for 2015. Convenience stores are also expected to increase the stock of gluten free products.