As gluten-free sales increase, so does misinformation, food industry experts note.
An article in the January 17, 2012, edition of Food Business News put the spotlight on gluten-free products and their increasing customer base. While more individuals are buying gluten-free, it’s not always for the right reasons, the article notes.
Titled “The Gluten-Free Quandary,” the article interviewed professionals in the gluten-free industry, including Beckee Moreland, director of gluten-free industry initiatives for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), Beth Peta, marketing manager for Cargill, and Suzy Badaracco, president of Culinary Tides, a market research firm.
Moreland noted that the term “gluten-free” doesn’t automatically mean “healthy.”
“'There is a lot of misinformation about the diet,' Ms. Moreland said. 'We have people say, ‘It’s a healthy diet.’ Well, it can be a healthy diet if you focus on the fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins, beans and legumes. But when you start incorporating a lot of the gluten-free alternative products … they are much higher in fat, sodium and sugar.'”
Badaracco addressed the problem of self-diagnosis:
"She also said many consumers are self-diagnosing with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and not getting proper medical answers. She said if someone goes gluten-free and feels better, it doesn’t prove anything because it may have been the addition of more fruits and vegetables and less junk food that caused the improvement."
Despite this, there are still opportunities for gluten-free growth. As Peta pointed out, the gluten-free market needs more enriched and fortified products that add fiber and other missing nutrients back into the diet.
To read the full article,see Food Business News.