Sales of free-from food & drink are flying. Brits have forked out an extra £96.5m on the sector in the past year [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 29 March 2015], a staggering rise of 26.9%; volumes are up 21.9%.
Sixty per cent of households now buy into free-from, though far fewer actually suffer from a food intolerance. Brands say there are 27,000 internet searches for gluten-free diets every month in the UK, even though just 1% of Brits suffer from coeliac disease.
The movement is no longer strictly about medical need. It’s become a lifestyle choice and is leaving its niche and going mainstream. Which raises the question: where should free-from go in store: in its own fixture or among conventional products? And what other challenges lie ahead for the sector?
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