Europe forms the second largest market for gluten-free foods & beverages in the world, with an estimated share of about 25% in 2016. The regions demand for these products is also forecasted as the second fastest growing, primarily due to an increasing number of individuals being diagnosed with celiac disease. Demand for gluten-free bread, cookies & snacks are the highest, and also the fastest growing. Within Europe, the United Kingdom is the largest and the fastest growing regional market.
Wheat, barley, rye and their derivatives are found to contain the protein called gluten and individuals sensitive to it exhibit mild symptoms of intolerance such as chronic diarrhea and vomiting. However, there exists a sizeable population that shows typical symptoms of intolerance that is classified as celiac disease. This is an inherited autoimmune disorder in which gluten damages the small intestine, with the only remedy for it being a strict gluten-free diet for life. For instance, prevalence of this disease in North America is around three to four million, though only 5%-10% of the cases have been currently diagnosed.
The market for gluten-free foods & beverages has undergone a radical change from speciality niche products to mainstream products. Millions of individuals around the world have started consuming gluten- free products, not only because of being diagnosed with celiac disease but also because of a general perception of maintaining better health. A current trend towards gluten-free product consumption has given further impetus to the gluten-free foods & beverages segment.
The market for gluten-free products is highly competitive, with innovation in products being a major strategic approach adopted by leading players. This trend is likely to continue in the future, as the established set of players seeks to garner increased market share.
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