The Willis Report: Before you buy gluten free products - New York News

The Willis Report: Before you buy gluten free products

Posted: Updated:

By Gerri Willis
FOX Business Network


You can't go anywhere these days without running into gluten-free products. Whether you're at the grocery store or in a restaurant, the gluten-free option is everywhere. Heck, even the Girl Scouts this year are offering gluten-free cookies. The question is do you need to buy them?

Gluten-free, according to the federal government means getting rid of the protein found in wheat, rye and barley. People with severe gluten allergies, a condition called celiac disease, obviously try to stay away from gluten. But those folks make up only one percent of the population. What's going on now is that food manufacturers are promoting these foods to everyone as healthier.

And, it's working. The business of gluten-free products is expected to grow 50 percent in the next few years to $15 billion in sales by 2016. Today's gluten-free products are purchased by 11 percent of customers – more than ten times the number with celiac. At the same time, wheat flour consumption has fallen to a 22-year low, according to the U.S.D.A. So these non-wheat products are popular with loads of health-conscious consumers who believe in its benefits. Experts say as many as 18 million people or 6 percent of the population may have a sensitivity to gluten.

But here's the rub: These products are more expensive than their more common counterparts – way more. Consumer Reports estimates that gluten-free products can cost two to three times more than regular non-gluten free products. What's more, you don't have to pay the premium price to stay away from wheat in some categories. Plenty of foods are naturally gluten-free, like polenta, rice-crackers and nuts.  

Even so, food makers are on the bandwagon. General Mills, whose brands include Bisquick and Pillsbury, has begun reformulating products to remove gluten. It's already reformulated Chex and plans to introduce gluten-free brownies, cookies and cakes next year. Likewise, the grocery store chain, Wegman's, is now the country's largest seller of gluten-free products. New brands , like Udi's and Glutino, are taking advantage of the trend.

Just keep in mind as you shop the supermarket aisles that cheaper options may be available.

Interact with Gerri on Twitter @GerriWillisFBN and Facebook for more information, or to voice your concerns and questions.

Copyright 2014 by myFOXDetroit.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • BusinessMore>>

  • Ukraine, Scotland dent German investor optimism

    Ukraine, Scotland dent German investor optimism

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:21 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:21:27 GMT
    A key survey of German investor optimism fell in September for the ninth month in a row as the crisis in Ukraine, economic stagnation in Europe and the upcoming independence referendum in Scotland weighed on...
    A key measure of German investor optimism fell in September for the ninth month in a row, dragged down by worries over the crisis in Ukraine, economic stagnation in Europe and the upcoming independence referendum in Scotland.
  • Allergan agrees to move forward with meeting

    Allergan agrees to move forward with meeting

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:21 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:21:26 GMT
    Allergan and Pershing Square are agreeing on at least one step toward settling a fight over the makeup of the Botox-maker's board.
    Allergan and Pershing Square have agreed on at least one step toward settling a fight over the makeup of the Botox-maker's board.
  • Trump Plaza shuts down; 4th AC casino to close

    Trump Plaza shuts down; 4th AC casino to close

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:12 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:12:11 GMT
    When Trump Plaza opened on May 14, 1984, Donald Trump called it the finest building in Atlantic City, and possibly the nation.
    Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino closed its doors early Tuesday, the fourth Atlantic City casino to go belly-up so far this year.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices