The food intolerance and allergies market is booming and looks set to more than double in value between 2002 and 2007 to reach £138m, according to new research from consumer analyst Mintel.

The market has grown some 165% since 2000 boosted by the entrance of grocery multiples to the category and a higher general awareness of food intolerance and allergies, said Mintel.

Although the market is expected to remain a niche market, the report suggests it is likely to be subject to further innovation and promotion, as the category occupies increasing shelf space in stores.

Senior consumer analyst James McCoy said: “The onus will be on manufacturers to further boost awareness among consumers who are looking to maintain a healthy diet but not necessarily requiring free-from foods if the market is to realise its potential, as lack of awareness can be a barrier to further growth.”

Mintel also said that there is plenty of scope for new product development within the ‘free-from’ market as consumers on special diets want to be able to keep to their regime with the minimum effort.