The gluten-free market is growing rapidly and shows no signs of slowing down. Studies show that 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. would like to reduce gluten from their diet or eliminate it altogether. Just a few years ago, most individuals had not even heard the term “gluten-free.” Now, one sees gluten-free options in most grocery stores and restaurants across the nation. A testament to this increase, US Foods reported a 200 percent increase in demand for gluten-free foods since 2009.
But make no mistake; eating gluten-free is much more than just a trend. While it is a choice for some, it is a health requirement for others. Those diagnosed with celiac disease have no alternative but to eat foods made without gluten. Celiac is an autoimmune disorder that is triggered by consuming the gluten protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It is estimated that the gluten-free diet is a necessity for an astounding 21 million Americans, despite many of them remaining undiagnosed.
This is a very important audience for restaurants to reach. With roughly a third of Americans seeking to eat gluten-free, adding these options to the restaurant’s menu can draw in a whole new crowd. Restaurants who add gluten-free items to their menu see, on average, an eight percent increase in sales. It makes sense that gluten-free mentions on menus have increased 275 percent from 2009 to 2012. Restaurants are starting to get it.
Still, there remains a problem. Around 96 percent of chefs and restaurateurs polled could not correctly answer four basic questions about gluten-free/containing foods. If neither the owner nor the ones preparing food in restaurants understand the difference, this could mean serious trouble for their customers with celiac disease.
In this infographic, the folks at PizzaMarketplace.com explore the need for gluten-free options in restaurants along with a list of steps restaurant operators should take when starting their own gluten-free programs. The infographic also offers gluten-free substitution ideas for some common gluten-filled foods like soy sauce, bread crumbs, flour, and wheat crackers. Check out the infographic to learn more about this important issue.