Free-from food is a trend that came into popularity in 2017 and had been steadily rising over the past decade. Free-from foods refer to the foods from which certain ingredients are removed, such as gluten, sugar, and lactose. This trend has become popular among health-conscious people and people who have a certain kind of allergy or intolerance to food products. Many consumers find these foods healthier for them compared to regular offerings. The free-from food market demand is relatively high in developed regions such as Europe and North America. These regions are contributing the majority of the market share in the global free-from food market.
|Fastest Growing Market||Europe|
|Largest Market||North America|
|Report Coverage||Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends|
The allergies related to several products are increasingly being seen among consumers across the world. These increasing allergies and intolerance regarding several food ingredients are expected to drive the market in the near future. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), approximately 65% of the population has reduced digesting lactose ability. By considering this, several food manufacturing companies are offering lactose-free food products. For instance, the A2 Milk Company of New Zealand has developed A2 milk suitable for lactose intolerant and does not contain lactose.
The health problems, such as heartburn, gastric, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, among others, are increasing at a fast pace. These increasing health issues can be attributed to changes in consumers' lifestyles, such as bad eating habits. The growing diseases have created awareness among consumers globally; people are becoming conscious of their health and hence avoiding consumption of foods that do not suit or can have an adverse impact on their health.
The globally growing health and fitness trends among consumers are expected to increase the free-from food market demand. Health and fitness freak people demand healthy products and have much knowledge of nutrients and ingredients in the food products and are very particular for the food products. People are avoiding the consumption of foods containing high lactose, dairy, meat, and other ingredients. Such trends are expected to propel the market in the near future.
The new regulations imposed by several authorities are favoring the Free-from Food market. For instance, according to the new EU regulation, which came into effect in January 2012, "the term gluten-free" can be used only for food that contains less than 20 PPM of gluten." Before this regulation, food packets containing up to ten times more gluten than 20 PPM can be marked as gluten-free. In late 2014, the Regulations on food information to consumers came into force in Europe, i.e., "Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011". Under this regulation, each hotel and restaurant must inform its customers about whether any of the 14 main allergens are in the food.
Developed countries dominate the Free-from Food market due to the sizeable health-conscious population and more consumer spending power. Regions such as North America and Western Europe account for most shares in the global Free-from Food market.
In 2016, Pinnacle Foods completed the acquisition of Boulder Brands, which is a well-known company for Free-from Foods. Boulder Brands has added well-known brands like EVOL Foods, Earth Balance, and Udi's Gluten-Free to Pinnacle Foods.
Europe is expected to be the leading market for free-from foods; this can be attributed to many health-conscious people in the region. Consumers in the European region focus on healthy foods, free-from foods such as gluten-free, sugar-free, and foods with a reduced amount of sugar and salt. For instance, according to Statista, in 2018, soft drink manufacturers, the Coca-Cola Company, made around USD 10 billion from carbonated beverages' sales with reduced sugar content in Europe.
North America is expected to be the second-largest market for the free-from food market due to the increasing health-conscious demographics in the region. Also, people with certain diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart problems, among others, are avoiding the consumption of foods that constrains evident residue. Consumers are inclined to consume sugar-free food products, GMO-free food products, and Gluten-free food products. Nations such as the U.S. and Canada are responsible for the growth of the region's free-from food market.
As per the data of a random survey by Statista, the consumption of GMO-free food products among different age groups in Canada, on average, around 22% of the Canadian population is actively looking for GMO-free food products in 2018.
According to the aforementioned graph, consumers in 55–64 are more inclined towards GMO-free food products in Canada. However, young people are the least to purchase GMO-free food products.
Based on type, the free-from food market has been segmented into lactose-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, GMO-free, among others. Gluten-free food products are expected to grow further in the near future, owing to the increasing intolerance of gluten as the regular consumption of gluten may result in certain health conditions such as gluten sensitivity and celiac disease others. Gluten-sensitive people are avoiding consuming products containing a high content of gluten, such as wheat, spelt, rye, barley, and bread. People are increasingly inclined towards gluten-free grains such as rice, oats, quinoa, among others. Consumption of gluten-free foods such as meat, fish and seafood, and eggs are also increasing among consumers.
According to a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) in 2018, 44% of the chefs reported that gluten-free cuisine is the hot trend. According to the Institute of Food Technologies (IFT) in 2018, the term "Gluten-Free" is mentioned on 26% of U.S. restaurant menus. It was up by 10% by the last year. Moreover, according to the IFT, the U.S.'s gluten-free food market is expected to reach around USD 7.6 billion by 2020 end.
The GMO-free food market is expected to grow at a higher pace in the near future. GMO foods are developed by the genetic modification of organisms in the laboratories. These foods can have an adverse effect on the human body. Thus, the demand for GMO-free food is increasing at a lucrative pace. GMO foods can cause the development of the disease, which is immune to antibiotics. Various manufacturers are taking advantage of this trend and offering GMO-free food products to the consumer world. For instance, Dannon, Activia, Danimals, Oikos, Light & Fit, among others, are some of the brands under which GMO-free products are sold.
Based on distribution channels, the market has been segmented into store-based retail and online retail. The store-based retail is further segmented into hypermarkets/supermarkets, convenience stores, grocery stores, specialty stores, etc. Additionally, the store-based retail segment is the largest and accounted for more than three-fourths of the market share owing to the consumers purchasing trend of bulk purchasing on week offs. However, online retail is expected to grow fast in the near future, owing to the convenience and time-saving advantages associated with it. The online purchasing of free-from food products is expected to be more in India and surrounding countries due to such products' unavailability in the region's grocery and convenience stores. Consumers living in rural areas do not have access to hypermarkets and supermarkets; hence, they try to purchase them online.
In late 2016, the leading food ingredient manufacturer Danone S.A. has partnered with the White Wave Foods Co. It is a win-win partnership; for White Wave Foods, Danone has the capability due to its widespread distribution channel to introduce White Wave Foods products to the world. For Danone, the business of White Wave will strengthen its position in the U.S. Moreover, White Wave Foods offer free-from foods through its brand such as Horizon Organic, So Delicious, EarthBound Farm, which will further enhance the Danone product line in Free-from Foods.