The History of Celiac Disease vs. The Future
The history of celiac disease is a roller coaster. Despite what you might think, it’s really not a recent phenomenon. In fact, an archaeological dig in Italy revealed that celiac disease was prevalent as far back as the first century AD. Google’s “anthropological” digging tool, Google Trends, shows that in recent years, searches for “gluten-free” really began to take off after 2010.
Google trends are in line with the growing prevalence of celiac disease. The rise in the disease is believed to be due to antibiotics, increased c-sections, low food diversity, and more, but basically, it centers around the gut’s flora and our ability to digest food. Celiac disease is now known to be an autoimmune disease that affects 1 in 133 Americans, or about 1% of the population. With that said, more and more people who haven’t even been diagnosed with celiac disease are starting to become aware of the benefits of a gluten-free diet. Diagnosis of celiac disease can take years, so many people are choosing to skip the diagnosis altogether and instead opt for a gluten-free diet.
Autoimmune diseases like celiac disease are notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat, but there are many experimental drugs in the development pipeline that can hopefully cure or prevent gluten intolerance. So where will we go from here? Given the history of celiac disease, can we expect the market to continue growing? In short, celiac disease probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and that means that neither is the need for delicious and satisfying gluten-free food.
Gluten-Free Market Projections
Google’s trend report shows that searches for “gluten-free” have been relatively steady for the last 7 years or so. It’s not just people who have celiac disease who are typing this into google, it’s also their friends and family who want to make a meal that everyone can enjoy, or find a game day drink that everyone can celebrate with.
In 2020, the global gluten-free market size was about $5.6bn. The market is expected to grow between 2020 and 2025, from 5.6 billion U.S. dollars to 8.3 billion U.S. dollars. That’s a CAGR (consolidated annual growth rate) of 9.2%! In terms of product innovations, we can expect to see the classic categories continue to rise: pasta, cereals, baked goods, etc. But that’s not all! Google’s top 25 “rising” gluten-free searches also include bread, pizza, flour, cookies, cake, chocolate, bakery, beer, crust, pasta, and oatmeal. There’s also a growing demand for gluten-free skincare and bodycare items. Moreover, people are bored of the typical “natural foods” trend - they want their guilty pleasures and comfort foods back. This means more ready to eat pizzas, frozen meals, snack foods (did you hear Oreo is going GF in 2021?), and, of course, beer.
The Future of Gluten-Free Beer
The gluten-free beer market is expected to shine in the coming years and has a CAGR even higher than the industry average at 13.72%. According to a report created by Mordor Intelligence, “There has been an increase in the demand for gluten-free craft [beer], from last few years, attributed to factors, such as rise in awareness about celiac disease, the inclination of the consumers toward free-from products, product innovations, increased number of breweries, and improvement in marketing activities.” This doesn’t take into consideration the rise of alcohol consumption and online alcohol sales as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Nielsen, online sales of alcohol rose by a whopping 262% in 2020.
Now that big name breweries are trying to get into the action, a lot of these online beer buyers are probably a little disappointed. The mainstream gluten-free beer ingredients don’t really have the flavor or familiarity that people are searching for. Over the next few years, sadly, we can expect these breweries to create more disappointing gluten-free versions of low brow beers. These breweries typically include one or two GF options just to be included in the trend but use ingredients that can’t deliver on taste like sorghum. As one Untappd user described “Kind of like a bland cheap sweet white wine, not working at all.”
In 2021 and every year to come, the team at Aurochs is dedicated to creating delicious, award-winning gluten-free beers to go with your gluten-free Oreos, pizzas, pretzels, and late-night snacks. While you might be restricted from eating certain ingredients, we don’t think that has to mean that your flavor palette has to be restricted too. Given the history of celiac disease and the innovations that are coming out of it, we don’t expect “gluten-free” to be a passing trend and the reports agree with us.
If you want to stock Aurochs variety of gluten-free beers on your shelves, reach out to us to schedule your free tasting! Whether you’re going gluten-free or just looking for a beer that the whole house can enjoy, we’ve got you covered.