Michal Slawski, of Bord Bia’s horticulture division, reports that coeliac disease is thought to affect more than 1% of the Australian population, though he adds that it is possible that as many of 80% of these people are undiagnosed.
“Research from Coeliac Australia indicates that 10% of the population is now following a gluten-free diet, while Datamonitor information indicates 18% of Australians are avoiding certain foods due to perceived allergies and intolerances,” Mr Slawski writes in the latest edition of the Bord Bia publication Food Alert.
The Bord Bia analyst notes celebrity claims that a gluten-free diet will assist with weight loss, increase energy and improve digestive health have played a part in gluten-free foods experiencing strong growth in recent years. Sales in Australia are predicted to hit $AUS107m (€73m) by 2015, up from $AUS29m (€20m) in 2005, and $AUS60m (€40m) in 2010.
The Bord Bia analyst adds that it is not just the gluten free category that is growing though, the whole food intolerance market, which includes gluten free, diabetic and lactose free foods, grew from $AUS130m (€88m) in 2005 up to $AUS190m (€129m) in 2010. There is a price premium between regular and intolerance foods that makes it an attractive market to supply.
Another development in Australia was the launch of GlutenSwitch, a new mobile phone app. This is a new filter for the FoodSwitch app developed by Bupa and The George Institute, and enables gluten-intolerant consumers to make healthier food choices.
By scanning the barcodes with smartphones, GlutenSwitch indicates whether the product contains gluten, as well as other health information.