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Gluten-free: Trend or Fad?

In a February article on foodproductdesign.com, it appears the gluten-free food trend is still on the up-and-up. In fact, the sector is projected to grow to $6 billion by 2015. The article also suggests that this rise in popularity has to do with a few factors:

  1. An increase in diagnosis for Celiac Disease (CD)—In a medscape.com article dated July 2010, Mayo Clinic research confirmed CD diagnosis was up four-fold worldwide, thus dramatically increasing the number of people who were recommended a gluten-free diet for medical purposes.
  2. Evidence suggesting a gluten-free diet can relieve autism in children and adult rheumatoid arthritis—According to a webmd.com article, while very little research has been done, parents are incorporating a gluten-free diet and reporting improvements in their autistic children’s symptoms. And a study was conducted a couple of years ago by Arthritis Research & Therapy concluding a gluten-free diet helped reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
  3. The belief that gluten-free is a “healthy” way of life—The gluten-free diet is something that a lot celebrities have been adapting, and is believed by many to help people lose weight. The ABC network did a special feature in November of 2010 on gluten-free as a health trend, highlighting both the positives and negatives of a gluten-free diet. Click here to check it out.

Not everyone is convinced the gluten-free trend will stick around. For example, Suzy Badaracco, president of Culinary Tides—a site devoted to tracking industry movements and its influence on food, flavor and health trends—believes that gluten-free followers who have chosen a gluten-free diet based on the belief that it is a healthier option are likely to stop purchasing and consuming gluten-free products—and she preditcs it will happen quickly. Read more here. Also, in a U.S. News Healtharticle, the gluten-free diet is believed to be “a cure for some” and “a fad for most.” Read the entire article here.

While it looks like the gluten-free trend is still alive and well, keep in mind that what you could be seeing is a fad. And, as we all know, fads die. And most often quickly.

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