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Gluten-Free Foods A Trend That Simply Isn't Going Away

LOS ANGELES, March 20, 2013 () – Confession: I never even heard of the word “gluten” before becoming a food and beverage analyst.

If that surprises you, it shouldn’t. I’m a consumer first. And consumers never hear of most things in their food before celebrities and the media make a big deal out of them. Gluten. Pink slime. Meat glue. Genetically modified. Believe me: Consumers are clueless until someone like Brad Pitt says, “Hey, did you know that your hamburger contains (insert name of ingredient here)? Well it does. And you shouldn’t eat it. Because I don’t.”

That’s how the whole trend of gluten-free pasta, cookies and other foods began. Actors like Gwyneth Paltrow began gushing over the foods. Singer Miley Cyrus would put comments like “Gluten is crap” on her Twitter feed. And then the breaking news came out that Chelsea Clinton’s wedding cake contained no gluten.

And before you knew it, a new food trend had begun.

And this food trend is also getting better. According to a recent report by market research firm The NPD Group, about one-third of U.S. adults say they want to cut down or be free of gluten in their diets. That’s the highest such percentage since the research group began tracking the trend in 2009. That’s why companies like Heinz and Boulder Brands are continuing to launch gluten-free ideas: Because the market is still there.

The gluten-free trend won’t last forever. Trends never do. But this one isn’t going away anytime soon.

Nevin Barich is the Food & Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence Inc. He is OK with gluten in his diet, but he finds that he’s quickly becoming the minority in that regard. He can be reached at

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