North America, cornering a share of over 55% estimated in 2016, constitutes the largest global market for gluten-free foods & beverages. In addition, the region is also forecasted as the fastest growing, with the United States driving the growth for these products. By segment, demand for gluten-free bread products, cookies and snacks is the largest and fastest growing. The rising number of individuals with celiac disease and other benefits associated with consuming a gluten-free diet have been instrumental in fueling demand for gluten-free foods & beverages in North America. Prevalence of this disease in the region is around three to four million, though only 5%-10% of the cases have been currently diagnosed.
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.
The market for gluten-free foods & beverages has undergone a radical change from being considered specialty 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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