The popularity of gluten-free drives a flourless revolution
2021 has brought with it some good news: the world’s best-known cookie has finally launched its gluten-free variants and by most initial accounts, they’re pretty good and taste just like the original. These variants are made from white rice and whole oat flour instead of the usual wheat flour, giving people with gluten sensitivities and celiac disease the chance to find out what all the fuss is about.
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The rise and rise of gluten-free
The launch of OREO's gluten-free versions is just another reminder of how important this claim has become. The gluten-free claim’s growth has been nothing short of meteoric, with consumer interest nearly quadrupling over the last decade, according to Spoonshot, which analyzes millions of data points across 22 data types and over 28,000 data sources to track the growth of such trends.
Gluten-free was once a niche claim aimed at people with celiac disease or gluten allergies, who had to shop at specialist stores to get products and ingredients suitable for their needs. Over the years, spikes in interest for gluten-free has coincided with consumers aligning themselves with a number of changing eating practices, including healthy eating, clean eating, and the rising popularity of grain-free/low carb diets like paleo and keto.
Even though gluten is not necessarily unhealthy or artificial, consumers often do perceive these to be true. Spoonshot’s analysis of social media conversations found that gluten-free is among the top 10 topics of conversation, and among people talking about gluten-free, a fair share of posts had pretty close associations to health and wellness.
The result: gluten-free is now a mainstream feature, holding its place as one of the leading claims in retail. Spoonshot’s data shows that around 10 percent of food and drink launches call out their gluten-free credentials on pack. We’ve also categorized gluten-free claims among launches by product category, as can be seen in the graph below.