Free-from food moves into the mainstream

New research shows that a quarter of Brits now regularly buy free-from products and the special diets market is showing no sign of slowing down.

Following the research carried out by Harris Interactive, Swedish bakery, Almondy is now encouraging caterers to give their 2017 menus a free-from make-over.

“The latest research is in line with Almondy’s own annual free-from report, which showed that three-quarters of people have bought a gluten-free product in the last 12 months and over a third have bought lactose-free – the demand is substantial and it will continue into 2017,” says Andrew Ely, managing director of Almondy.

“The fact is, in the 11 years Almondy has been supplying the UK foodservice market, free-from has gone from strength to strength,” he adds. “No longer driven by health reasons alone, consumers are buying free-from as a general lifestyle choice – especially millennials, who are a key demographic when it comes to eating out,” Andrew adds.

A key factor in the rise in demand for free-from foods is greater understanding and awareness around intolerances in general. This has led to a burgeoning market that shows no signs of slowing down in 2017.

“Not catering for a special dietary request can have a serious impact on an operation’s bottom line,” Andrew adds. “In fact, our own research shows that similar to vegetarians, someone with an intolerance such as coeliac disease will influence where a whole party eats out, so you won’t just be losing one person’s custom.

“While the gluten-free market continues to be buoyant, we’re predicting lactose-free to grow in demand in the year ahead, particularly as lactose is the most common cause of dairy intolerances and recent research revealed that 72% of people would like to see more lactose-free options on menus when eating out. Operators who take free-from seriously in 2017 will be rewarded.”

Almondy’s gluten-free range includes the Daim Cake, Toblerone Cake and a Peanut & Caramel version.

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