“Gluten-free”—probably one of the popular words now plastered on many food labels, fitness posters, and social media ads. But this is less likely to be the next fad diet.
As early as now, various marketing experts predict that the demand for gluten-free products will only increase. The Business Research Company believes it could achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 8 percent by 2025. In 2020, it already reached $4.84 billion in market revenue.
The Global News Wire forecasts that the CAGR for this food sector could be nearer to 9 percent between 2020 and 2027. By the end of this period, the global market value for gluten-free goods would have been $36 billion.
Why are more people obsessed with gluten-free, and how does one get a share of its attractive market pie?
What Is Gluten?
Before we cite the reasons for the growth of gluten-free products, let’s know what “gluten” is. Gluten is a protein found in many types of cereal grains. These include wheat, barley, and rye.
It doesn’t have any nutritive value, but it remains essential in the kitchen. One, it allows the likes of bread and pasta to retain their shape. Gluten also makes food tastes chewy and tender. Because it helps retain moisture, it is a common ingredient in food processing.
Why People Eat Gluten-Free Products
The problem with gluten comes when a person is sensitive to it. Like any other protein, the body needs to break it down. Some, especially those with celiac disease, cannot do it. Gluten instead triggers a series of negative reactions, such as vomiting, abdominal pain, and digestive tract inflammation.
For this reason, people with Celiac disease need to avoid any product, from soy sauce to pizzas, with gluten. However, others who can tolerate it decide to avoid it because:
1. It May Still Create Some Symptoms
Some people are intolerant to gluten. While their symptoms are far less severe than those with celiac disease, they can still be uncomfortable. Think of bloating that can last for hours or a day.
2. Gluten May Increase the Risk of Inflammation
Even those sensitive or intolerant to gluten may also develop inflammation like those with celiac disease. Over time, when the individual doesn’t learn to manage it, this inflammation can result in higher oxidative stress. It will then contribute to cellular damage, so tissues and organs don’t function optimally.
3. A Gluten-Free Diet May Help People Lose Fat
A 2012 study revealed that maintaining a gluten-free diet may help decrease fatty tissues and decrease the risk of diabetes by improving insulin resistance.
First, most of the gluten-based products in the market are simple carbohydrates like white pasta and bread. These can potentially cause a blood sugar spike that the body will find a lot harder to control. In turn, cells can become less receptive to insulin, the hormone that delivers glucose for energy.
Second, simple carbs are associated with fat buildup, especially around the abdomen. They are high in calories. When the body cannot use all the calories, it stores the excess as fat.
Third, inflammation is also linked to abdominal or central obesity. It can cause an imbalance in the hormones, boost the odds of metabolic syndrome, and disrupt the gut microbiome that helps regulate the body’s immune system and other functions.
How Can You Earn from the Gluten-Free Market?
The gluten-free market is huge, especially since it’s not only those with celiac who patronize them. So does anyone who likes to be healthy. But how does one become part of the industry?
The easiest is to produce gluten-free baked goods like bread. It’s a business you can start at home, even with small savings. To do it right, however, consider these tips:
1. Set Up Your Kitchen Correctly
One of the biggest problems with producing gluten-free goodies is cross-contamination. This usually happens when you are using the same kitchen surface and supplies for all your baked products. Some traces of all-purpose wheat flour can still end up in your gluten-free blueberry muffins.
To avoid this problem, set up your kitchen correctly. Use separate stainless steel sheet pans, which you can neatly store in a different part of your kitchen after use. They are also easy to clean and wipe and, depending on the size, let you bake by batches.
2. Buy in Bulk
Gluten-free ingredients, such as flour, are more expensive than regular ones. To save money, buy them in bulk. Granted, these products are more likely to spoil faster. Storing them properly, though, can extend their lives up to three months at room temperature and six months when in the freezer.
The beauty of gluten-free products is that you can use them to substitute gluten ingredients in various recipes. Sometimes it needs only a few adjustments, but the flavor and texture can still be similar—and just as enjoyable and profitable.