Consumer demand for gluten-free products is on the rise and a growing trend in food manufacturing. According to FoodProcessing.com’s list of trends to watch in 2011, gluten-free makes the list for its explosion during the past several years. Once a small niche, Packaged Facts projects U.S. retail sales will reach more than $5 billion by 2015.
The growing trend was quite apparent at the 2011 Natural Foods Expo West, with hundreds of food makers cranking out gluten-free extensions to their product lines or manufacturing nothing but. Only a few million people are clinically diagnosed with Celiac Disease, but consumer desire for such products is widespread.
Honey is a key player in this trend for a variety of reasons. It’s a natural ingredient that can be used to sweeten and enhance the flavor of gluten-free products. It can also improve the texture of products by increasing moisture and therefore avoiding the dry taste that would previously be associated with gluten-free. Many food manufacturers such as General Mills and Rudi’s Bakery are already incorporating honey into their gluten-free line and have been successful in doing so.