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Customer Preferences

To succeed in the GF market, Manufacturers and Caterers must address and satisfy the needs of Gluten-Free (GF) consumers.

This section outlines

  • the behavioural characteristics and demographics of UK GF consumers. 
  • the key concerns GF consumers have about products in the market
  • the need to regularly seek out consumer data that gives valuable and direct insights into their preferences to remain relevant and consistently and thoroughly address those needs.    

1. Nutritious Quality:  Gluten Free customers prefer higher quality GF products, especially with natural, unprocessed, organic Ingredients.  Unprocessed, organic, and low fat/sugar are the most appealing products characteristics to GF consumers. This reiterates the association of GF and healthy living.  The more health-related claims made on a GF product, the more it will appeal to consumers.

[Source:  Mintel Oxygen]

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Effect on the Market

The markets are seeing constant improvements in GF offerings in taste, quality, and nutritional compositions in both ready-to-eat and packaged goods markets [8]. 

Many GF offerings are integrating grains that are naturally GF such as quinoa and amaranth to better the flavour of products and make products nutritiously more appealing [Source: Mintel Oxygen]. 

This has caused a surge in the introduction of new products that will be positioned to address these growing and demanding needs of taste, nutritional quality, and pleasant textures gluten-free consumers want.  Mintel records supermarket offerings expanding aggressively to do just this in the UK, including Free From dedicated shelves in top retailers like Tesco, Sainsbury, and ASDA.

2. Ethical:  GF consumers prefer locally sourced, fair-trade products that are conscious of animal cruelty, etc. [SOURCE: GLUTEN FREE MARKET TRENDS]

This is becoming more of a UK consumer trend, not just a UK GF consumer trend.  The following graph shows that more than 50% of all foods consumed in the UK are produced locally.  [Source:  UK Government Publication]

UK Rate of Consumption of Domestic Products

Effect on Market  

UK Consumers are extremely aware of the origins of products they purchase and consistently prefer locally and ethically sourced food.  Manufacturers and retailers who would like to address the concerns and preferences of UK consumers must clearly demonstrate their commitment to source their ingredients (overwhelming majority) from local suppliers.

3. Healthy:  Avoiding gluten in products, as a healthy lifestyle choice is just as important as it is for those who have intolerance, as illustrated in the figure below.

Gluten free consumers are not just individuals who have an allergic reaction to gluten proteins in the body.  They are also individuals who choose to be free of this protein to live a healthier lifestyle.  Gluten-Free eaters tend to digest food more easily and without any pain as they are not subjecting their intestines to any scarring or damaging caused by gluten.

Source GMI/Mintel [12]