The Gluten Free Trend

Living life gluten free was once thought to be a difficult chore. Now, with gluten free foods becoming more accessible, people living gluten free can enjoy foods once thought to be harmful to them. The gluten free market has been growing rapidly for quite some time now. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Many manufacturers are now making a point of prominently promoting that their products do not contain gluten. So from the large retailers with worldwide consumers to your local corner bakery, there is money to be made in the gluten free marketplace.

“No Wheat, No Rye, and No Barley”

There are many different categories of people who will take part in a gluten free diet. First there are people who have Celiac disease. Celiac disease is a digestive condition which is caused by the consumption of gluten. This condition causes an immune reaction in the small intestine which prevents people from digesting other nutrients properly. The only real cure for this disease is to eliminate gluten from the diet.

Another category of people who take part in a gluten free diet are those who have been diagnosed as Gluten sensitive. This diagnosis means that the person is tolerable to gluten to a certain degree, depending on the case, but often it can be troublesome enough that these people will partake in a gluten free diet as well.

And then there are people who have not been diagnosed to have some type of gluten sensitivity but still choose to eat a gluten free diet because they feel it is beneficial to their health.

Overall the number of people who are living a gluten free life has continued to grow rapidly and in turn so have the sales of gluten free products. It is estimated that 15-20% of Americans are living a gluten free life for health and wellness related considerations. Package Foods, a market research group has reported that the global sale of gluten free foods and beverages was at $2.64 billion in 2010 and is projected to be at $5.5 billion in 2015. So more and more food manufactures both large and small are jumping on the bandwagon in hopes of capturing a small portion of this ever growing market.

Manufacturers who desire to break into this market will need a to use a combination of science and creativity. Often they are trying to take a product once made with grains that contain gluten and to replicate that product as close as possible using alternative ingredients. For example making a nice loaf of bread. Bakers will tend to use different starches in order to obtain qualities of wheat flour that help capture the CO2 which gives bread volume during fermentation and baking. Some gluten free starches they may use are rice flour, potato starch, guar gum, tapioca starch and whey powder. They also can use different nut flours to add flavor without compromising the need for gluten containing grains.

A useful reference for bakers who are interested in learning about and producing gluten free products to sell is, Gluten Free Baking with The Culinary Institute of America, by Richard Coppedge Jr., Certified Master Baker and Professor of Advanced Baking. This book contains 150 gluten free recipes that cover a variety of baked goods. So if you are a baker or business owner looking to break into the gluten free market, remember to think scientifically about the ingredients and be creative with the products you are making.
Happy Gluten Free Baking!

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