The Global Rise in Demand for Gluten-Free Foods

Global Rise in Demand for GlutenFree Foods: An Introduction

Gluten-free foods are becoming increasingly popular around the world. In recent years, the demand for gluten-free products has grown significantly, with more and more people seeking these products for their health and lifestyle needs. This article will provide an overview of the global rise in demand for gluten-free foods and the impact this has had on B2B ingredient buyers.


According to the United State Food and Drug Administration, widely known as the global authority on Gluten-free foods, for foods to be Certified Gluten-free, they must contain less than 20 parts per million gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Products without traces of these grains are becoming increasingly popular due to various factors. For starters, there is increased awareness of celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten consumption. People with Celiac disease experience various symptoms when they consume this protein.


Secondly, a large amount of research and writing has been done that has convinced people worldwide to avoid gluten for their digestive and overall health.  The global demand for gluten-free foods has steadily increased over the past few years. As a result, B2B raw ingredient buyers have had to adjust their strategies to meet the rising demand for Certified gluten-free ingredients.


The Growing Popularity of Gluten-Free Foods: Exploring the Factors Behind the Global Increase in Demand

The global demand for gluten-free foods is on the rise. This is due to a combination of factors, including an increased focus on health consciousness, growing awareness of celiac disease, and the increasing availability of gluten-free products within the bread, pastry, and pasta spaces.


People are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of a healthy diet and are looking for ways to reduce their intake of processed foods and ingredients as well as carbohydrates in general. This has led to a greater demand for gluten-free products, which are a healthier alternative to traditional wheat-based products. The growing awareness of celiac disease has also contributed to the global rise in demand for gluten-free foods.


It is estimated that 1 in 100 people worldwide suffer from some level of the condition. As awareness of the condition has grown, so too has the demand for gluten-free products. Finally, the increasing availability of gluten-free products has also contributed to the global rise in demand. The more people see this option, the more likely they are to research and choose it. More companies have begun offering gluten-free products in recent years, making them more accessible to consumers. Overall, the global rise in demand for gluten-free foods is due to a combination of factors, including an increased focus on health consciousness, growing awareness of celiac disease, and the increasing availability of gluten-free products.


Navigating the Global Rise in Demand for Gluten-Free Foods: Global Regulations and Testing

There does not exist a global standard or threshold for gluten-free food requirements. In 2014 the United States Food and Drug Administration (USDA) established its <20ppm requirement for American food shelves; this gave clarity to manufacturers and retailers within one of the largest industrial food markets on the planet. This same standard has been adopted in Europe.

Japan doubled the standard and requires <10ppm to meet its gluten-free standard, Chile requires <1ppm, and Australia requires food and beverage products to have “non-detectable” levels. As you can see, discrepancies remain. For instance, Australian officials determined that for oats, a popular “gluten-free” grain in other parts of the world, the unavoidable presence of small amounts of gluten contained therein does not allow them to be certified gluten-free for that specific country.


Varying regulations worldwide have given rise to certification bodies like the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) and the Association of European Coeliac Societies. Having seals from these certifiers on food packaging gives consumers confidence that there are control measures all along the supply chains for the products they’re purchasing and that those products have been tested for purity.


Because of variations in regulations worldwide, Ingredient manufacturers, food manufacturers, and retailers working in import/export scenarios need knowledgeable partners to help them remain compliant and competitive as their ingredients and finished products move around the world.

Tradelink is well-versed in the gluten-free market. Our QA team has created gluten-testing programs for ingredient manufacturers and their customers. We take a boots-on-the-ground approach to gluten compliance by visiting facilities, completing audits, and educating employees from the production floor to management on the requirements and importance of gluten-free manufacturing. For our customers, we establish testing protocols to meet their needs, work with accredited laboratories, and utilize industry-leading quantitative and qualitative testing strategies to get them results they can depend on before shipping.


Gluten-free ingredient options for B2B buyers

Gluten-free Baking

In baking applications, the replacement of ingredients that contain gluten is difficult. By nature, as gluten is activated in the baking process, it results in the soft, airy textures and crumb structure that we love in our breads and pastries. Industrial and home bakers who go gluten-free sacrifice this gluten benefit but through creativity and formulation expertise, gluten-free flour blends and finished baked goods are a stronger option than ever.


Gluten-free replacement ingredients include:

  • Almond flour
  • Sesame flour
  • Cassava flour
  • Brown rice flour
  • Buckwheat flour
  • Oat flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Egg powder


Gluten-free Flatbreads

Traditional flatbreads are characterized by elasticity, rollability and chewy texture. Similar to how it allows air bubbles to form in fluffy breads and pastries, gluten directly contributes to the above attributes in flat breads, but without the use of yeast. This list includes products like tortillas, pita, pizza, and naan, which are all traditionally made from wheat flour and the main function of gluten-free ingredients in flat breads to absorb, hold and maintain moisture.

Gluten-free replacement ingredients for flatbreads include:

  • Almond flour
  • Teff flour
  • Cassava flour
  • Sorghum flour
  • Tapioca starch
  • Potato starch
  • Xantham gum
  • Coconut flour
  • Soybean flour
  • Modified starches
  • Oils


Gluten-free Pasta

No gluten-free sector has adjusted as effectively as the pasta realm. Gluten-free pasta options have become so numerous and successful that avid pasta eaters have difficulty telling the difference between wheat-based and gluten-free options. Furthermore, using high protein, high fiber raw materials, many gluten-free pastas now offer stronger nutritional profiles than their original versions! This is possible because consumers are not as sensitive to pasta texture as they are to bread and flat bread texture and the presence of sauce in pasta recipes can hide any “off” flavors that result from the use of legume and bean flours as the main ingredient.


Gluten-free replacement ingredients for pasta include:

  • Lentil flour
  • Black bean flour
  • Chickpea flour
  • Corn flour
  • Corn starch
  • Rice flour


Navigating the Global Rise in Demand for Gluten-Free Foods: Impact and Strategies for B2B Raw Ingredient Buyers

The global demand for gluten-free foods has steadily increased over the past few years. This is due to a combination of factors, including the growing health consciousness of consumers, increased awareness of celiac disease, and the increasing availability of gluten-free products. For B2B raw ingredient buyers, this rise in demand has created both opportunities and challenges. On the one hand, there is an increased demand for gluten-free ingredients, but on the other hand, sourcing these ingredients can be difficult and risky for those who are new to the gluten-free front.


Fortunately, there are strategies that buyers can use to meet the demand while protecting the organizations they work for. These include working with suppliers and project management partners specializing in gluten-free ingredients and those with direct relationships along the gluten-free supply chain. This is especially important in import/export scenarios when varying international regulations must be considered.


Tradelink’s boots-on-the-ground approach, QA expertise and direct supplier relationships gives procurement professionals the confidence they require to purchase the gluten-free ingredients they need to supply this growing, highly regulated and highly profitable market.