Health concerns expected to boosts sales of ‘free-from’ food, survey finds

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15th February 2016 13:07 - Food

Recent research has revealed that the free-from food craze has swept the United Kingdom, with the sales of free-from foods expected to increase by 13 per cent, to reach £531 million in 2016, a rise of approximately £470 million since 2015.Health concerns expected to boosts sales of ‘free-from’ food, survey finds

According to the market researcher, the growth can be attributed to free-from consumers increasing their consumtion, with 48 per cent of those who purchase or consume free-from goods saying that they are likely to eat more free-from goods in the next 12 months. It has also been forecasted that the market will increase further, to hit £673 by 2020.

In the last six months, 1 in 3 (33 per cent) of British people have either eaten or purchased free-from goods, with 22 per cent consuming or buying gluten-free items, and 19 per cent buying or eating dairy alternatives, for example, soya cheese. As well as this, 16 per cent bought or ate wheat-free products and 16 per cent bought or ate lactose-free goods.

The market expansion come at a time of a rise in product innovation, with research revealing that 12 per cent of new food products – which were launched in the United Kingdom during 2015 – were gluten-free, an increase of 7 per cent in 2011.

Many British people are avoiding specific ingredients due to health concerns, rather than for medical reasons. Of the British people in the survey, 27 per cent said that someone in their household avoids certain foods as part of a healthy lifestyle, as opposed to 19 per cent who avoid certain foods as a result of an allergy or intolerance.

Of the Brits in the survey, 8 per cent said that they actively avoid gluten to maintain a healthy lifestyle, as opposed to 5 per cent who do so because they have an allergy or intolerance.

The top reason (39 per cent) the free-from consumers gave for eating free-from foods was because it makes them feel better in themselves and healthier. On the other hand, 19 per cent said that they consumed free-from products in an attempt to lose weight.

Of the respondents who do not avoid any products, the biggest barrier to adopting a free-from lifestyle is budget restraints, with 39 per cent of those who do not eat or buy free-from foods citing the expense. Closely following budget was taste with 22 per cent saying that free-from products do not taste as nice as standard food. A further 20 per cent said that the quality is not as good as regular food.

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