Tesco Free From Rice milk

The free-from market’s strong growth has been driven by more shoppers coming into the market. Over half of UK households are now buying.

Dairy is now the number one sector, overtaking bakery with strong growth thanks almost entirely to Tesco, which has grown its own-label range from £511k to £6.8m. Overall, own label still undertrades in free-from dairy.

Dairy and fresh meat are the only major sectors in free-from to grow ahead of the market, with both areas seeing growth driven by penetration.

Almost all categories, including the top 10, were in growth. The only real exception was confectionery, with take-home driven by shoppers buying into the sector less often, and frozen hit by shoppers leaving over the past year.

We expect the category to continue to grow through new shoppers entering the market, partly through households that do not necessarily have intolerances. Yet recent work by Kantar shows penetration of free-from markets within households with dairy, wheat or gluten-intolerant members is yet to reach 90%.

Naim Haji Kantar Worldpanel