Going gluten-free? You’re not alone. New Mintel research shows that one in four consumers reports they consume gluten-free foods—a 67 percent increase from 2013. This growth comes despite the fact that nearly half or 47 percent of consumers agree that gluten-free diets are a fad.
If glutgengluten-free is a fad, what is the consumer motivation for buying them? Some are following a doctor’s advice to avoid gluten, however 27 percent of the rest report they eat gluten-free foods because they believe these products are better for their health. Whatever their reasons, more than a quarter of consumers, or 26 percent agree that gluten-free foods are worth an added cost and are willing to pay a premium to buy them.
The good news is that consumers say they’re satisfied with available gluten-free options, meaning that formulating has taken a step in the right direction in terms of flavor and mouthfeel. This has led to category sales reaching $11.6 billion in 2015, posting growth of 136 percent from 2013 to 2015. With more than a fourth of gluten-free consumers (27 percent) looking for gluten-free labels on food packaging, gluten-free food sales soared from 2.8 percent of total food sales in 2013 to 6.5 percent in 2015.
And here’s a fact—some of that excellent flavor and mouthfeel, particularly in gluten-free baked goods, can be attributed to egg ingredients. Most further processed egg ingredients are gluten-free. Certainly whole eggs in the shell are naturally free from gluten and many egg ingredients such as liquid whole eggs, egg yolks or egg whites are as well. The same functional properties eggs supply to mainstream food products are even more critical in a gluten-free formulation where product developers must swap out traditional ingredients and even modify processing methods because the nature of gluten-free batters quite different.
Eggs can help supply aeration for lighter, less dense baked goods and coagulation and binding for proper texture and crumb, for example. One whole egg by itself contains high-quality protein and added protein can be an asset in gluten-free baking applications with common gluten-free flour options lacking the protein contained in wheat-based flours. As you enter or continue to develop products that meet this market need, look to egg ingredients to help further category growth by creating great-tasting gluten-free foods.