CGA research shows gluten-free food and drinks market mounting

With more and more consumers following gluten-free diets, suppliers and operators have an opportunity to establish themselves in this small but significant niche.

The NHS estimates that one in 100 people in the UK are affected by coeliac disease, though many more remain undiagnosed and avoid gluten—and some studies show that prevalence is increasing by an average of 7.5% a year. This has led to a major expansion in the range of gluten-free food and drink in supermarkets, and CGA by NIQ’s research shows demand is rapidly increasing in pubs, bars and restaurants as well.  


CGA’s ‘Food Insights Report 2023’ indicates that 3.9% of On Premise consumers now follow a gluten-free diet—putting it close to the prevalence of diets like dairy-free (4.4%), diabetic (4.4%) and halal (4.3%). CGA’s REACH survey of consumers has meanwhile found that more than one in seven (15.3%) British consumers now expects a restaurant to cater for gluten-free diets.  


This is having an increasing impact on drinks as well as food choices. According to CGA’s latest On Premise User Survey (OPUS), 6.4% of consumers have selected a drink because it is gluten-free, while 6.0% have chosen a cocktail or mixed drink based on its gluten-free credentials.  


This diet is also an important influence on repeat purchases, with 5.5% saying they stick to the same drink or brand for an entire visit because it fits a particular diet like gluten-free. Two thirds (66.7%) of these consumers think they are likely to continue with their choices. 


James Ashurst, client director – foodservice, says: “All our research points to the mounting value of gluten-free food and drink options in the On Premise. While it’s still a relatively small part of consumers’ spending, now is a great time for suppliers and operators to establish themselves as leaders in this space and capture the growth that is sure to come. It will be crucial to closely track consumers’ habits and preferences in this and other dietary requirements, and adjust menus and activations accordingly.” 

CGA’s powerful fusion of consumer research and sales data delivers up-to-the-minute insights into dietary needs and other health and wellbeing trends. To learn more about how it can support successful On Premise strategies, email . 

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