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Food Industry Advisor is Telling Companies to Shift Away from Gluten-Free Foods

By March 24, 2010

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Yikes. An article on FoodNavigator-USA.com says food industry trends forecaster Suzy Badaracco, president of Culinary Tides, is predicting "a less-than-rosy future for gluten-free demand."

Caroline Scott-Thomas reported yesterday that Badaracco tells her clients in the food industry that people who recently adopted a gluten-free diet for reasons other than celiac disease "are drifting back to gluten-containing foods, and that this drift is likely to pick up pace."

The interest in gluten-free foods "is a house of cards just waiting to fall," Scott-Thomas quotes Badaracco as saying. "It's a medical diet, right? It's hard to stick to."

The article points out that the gluten-free market has grown by an average of 28% per year since 2004. But now, Badaracco predicts, the trend is going to die out. (I'm thinking to myself, "Lady, it's only going to die out if people like you tell companies to cut back on their gluten-free innovations, so cut it out.")

I took some small comfort from Scott-Thomas's assertion that "even if people without celiac disease decide to go back to eating gluten," wider availability of better, tastier gluten-free products - with higher nutritional value than older gluten-free products - "could be one of the longer lasting consequences of the gluten-free movement."

March 24, 2010 at 7:52 am
(1) erin rogers pickering says:

It amazes me that the food industry still believes it is just a trend or a fad diet. And that they don’t believe it is a way of life.

March 24, 2010 at 8:52 am
(2) Dewana says:

It’s difficult enough without the cooperation of the food industry. More and more people are being diagnosed gluten intolerant and only those companies who continue to improve on their ‘gluten free’ products will reap the rewards.

March 24, 2010 at 10:44 am
(3) John Libonati says:

The gluten free diet is a medical treatment? Not really. No one can fully digest gluten, thus the wide range of symptoms. Celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten allergies and gluten intolerance are not going to drop in prevalance. They will continue to rise. Eat enough gluten, and you sicken – whether or not you have the genetic predisposition that causes your body to have an immune reaction (celiac disease). People are realizing gluten is bad, yet they want the taste and texture gluten provides. Thus the industry growth. Ms. Badaracco is making the mistake of comparing the gluten-free diet to “fad” diets and the worse mistake of listening to the news instead of performing research. Gluten-free is not difficult: meats, cheeses, seafood, fish, eggs, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, corn, rice…every food that is not derived from wheat, barley, rye and oats is naturally gluten-free. Finally, once you are healthy it is easy to keep the diet, just as it’s easier to live every aspect of life…

March 24, 2010 at 1:16 pm
(4) Joyce S says:

It frustrates me that the gluten-free diet has been exploited as a “fad” or “lose weight” diet. People don’t understand (unless they have celiac disease) that the gluten-free diet is medically necessary for celiacs and their life depends on it! All we can do is keep trying to bring awareness to the communities and the food industries and hope they “get it” sooner than later!

March 24, 2010 at 6:02 pm
(5) Frank says:

Typical Americans speaking about something they no nothing about i am a Ceoliac and i couldnt survive without gluten and wheat free food it angers me greatly that People like her are aloud to come out with comments when they no nothing and possibly condemn ceoliacs to a life worse than what it is now try going shopping with a real Ceoliac and see what they go through just to get food and buy the way the expense as well especially here in the UK

March 24, 2010 at 10:55 pm
(6) Wise Finish says:

The pool of people with Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Anaphylactic Gluten Allergy and Gluten Sensitivity is growing. Estimates are that 2.5 million to 3 million people in the USA have celiac disease. Add to that the millions who are intolerant or have other issues with Gluten and you have a large (and growing) number of consumers.

The article is not accurate because there are well over 150,000 known diagnoses of Celiac Disease, and now that it is being recognized and frequently diagnosed, that number is rapidly growing. And again, keep in mind Celiacs only make up a portion of the Gluten Free population.

March 24, 2010 at 11:25 pm
(7) Bill says:

The interest in gluten-free foods “is a house of cards just waiting to fall,” Scott-Thomas quotes Badaracco as saying. “It’s a medical diet, right? It’s hard to stick to.”
Wow this person has never suffered from what We do if we somehow slip up. Hard to stick to? Not near as hard as what We suffer if We don’t.

March 25, 2010 at 1:19 am
(8) pritam says:

it really angers me when such insensitive people with foot in mouth spew out such s–t . i am a father of a 9 year old boy afflicted with this scourge. the advise that Ms. Badaracco should be advocating is that companies should make GF food tastier and variety should be introduced. I agree with John Libonati “Eat enough gluten, and you sicken whether or not you have the genetic predisposition that causes your body to have an immune reaction” so she should advocate companies in food industry to perform a social obligation of providing food which leads to better health of people and not just be interested in increasing the percentage of profit.
Ms. Badaracco i strongly condem your irresponsible attitude Madam.

March 25, 2010 at 10:20 am
(9) Cecelia says:

This lady must not be very educated for her to say these things. If some one in her family was to have this problem she would be singing a different tune.
How sad is she.

March 25, 2010 at 7:17 pm
(10) MaryK says:

That’s how all the “low carb” food disappeared. All of a sudden it was a mistake to market “low carb”. Stupid!

March 26, 2010 at 8:52 am
(11) Amanda says:

I think this is extremely shortsighted. I would challenge Caroline Scott-Thomas to try a GF diet for a couple of months to see how it affects her health. She could also look at the research that is showing high incidence of TTG antibodies in things like cerebral palsy and ankylosing spondilititis (sp?) which also suggests a GF diet might be helpful in these cases. There are many, many health issues that respond to a GF diet, not just celiac.

March 26, 2010 at 4:17 pm
(12) Christie {Honoring Health} says:

Bothers me to no end when people talk about gluten as the next fad diet. While I do think that most people could benefit from going gluten free, we are typically talking about serious health issues related to gluten and it isn’t always a fun lifestyle.

April 5, 2010 at 2:17 pm
(13) Billy says:

If not for a great doctor getting my wife on this diet I would have lost her. She was told she had a rare cancer and to prepare to die. Then one doctor said you could have Celiac Disease, god bless him. Fad, Trend I don’t think so. This is my families way of life and we do it gladdy.

April 5, 2010 at 9:28 pm
(14) Dee says:

I struggle with this disease on a daily basis. If I go out to dinner or to someone’s house for dinner I am putting my health in their hands. This woman is VERY irresponsible to make comments such as these without doing the necessary research to know how much this helps those with these problems. I have a new found love for Betty Crocker and her GF Brownies! Keep up the good work Betty Crocker!

April 6, 2010 at 4:11 pm
(15) Va; says:

So where do we sign the petition to have her eat her words… hope they are gluten free

April 10, 2010 at 6:02 am
(16) virginia says:

We in Asheville, NC, needing a GF diet are fortunate to have The Posana Cafe, gourmet restaurant which serves only GF foods. I recently had lunch there with a woman who had health problems and tried a GF diet. She feels indisputably better when she eats GF, she told me, but her physician says she should not believe that it’s because of the GF diet, since her problems have not been linked to gluten. My thought is that he’s speaking from partial knowledge while imagining that it’s complete knowledge. Perhaps 10 years from now research will show that some or all of her malaise was indeed due to gluten consumption. Experience is the trump card.

April 15, 2010 at 10:04 am
(17) Tom Armistead says:

Everyone, take a deep breath and chill. I’ve thought for some time that the GF fad eventually would fade. That’s what fads do. But as we celiacs all know, clinical tests have proved that roughly 1% of Americans (I’ve also seen 1% of all people worldwide) have celiac disease, and we’ve also seen the rate of diagnoses rising.

The faddists will drift away, but there’s a growing number of diagnosed celiacs, and savvy food makers will serve that market. The GF food will always cost more, certainly, but it will be there. And we will keep the great benefits of the fad: better-tasting GF food, and a much greater variety of it.

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