"Free from" is a catch-all term that can encompass products free from any specific ingredient, usually those linked to an allergy or intolerance. Gluten and Dairy (including lactose) are the most mainstream avoidance ingredients within the "FREE FROM" space. Demand for gluten-free and dairy-free products has soared in recent years as awareness of intolerances has grown, and many consumers have started to opt for such products as a lifestyle choice, rather than due to a specific allergy or intolerance.
Almost a quarter of innovative new food and drink products launched in 2017-18 were tagged as gluten-free, while 9% were tagged as dairy- or lactose-free. However this demand for "FREE FROM" formulations brings significant manufacturing challenges given the key role ingredients such as gluten and dairy or lactose can play in terms of providing taste and texture.
A significant proportion of consumers globally say they are always or often influenced by a product’s impact on their health and wellbeing when choosing both food (62%) and soft drinks (62%). "FREE FROM" purchases are already closely linked to health, with purchases driven either by necessity (e.g. intolerance/allergies) or by the perception that eliminating gluten or dairy from diets is healthier.
When considering what is "healthy," consumers are primarily thinking about products that are natural, or offer a balanced nutritional profile in terms of nutrient content including fat, protein, and carbohydrates. By contrast only a very small proportion of consumers associate "gluten-free" or "dairy-free" with being inherently "healthy." It is therefore important that manufacturers also ensure "FREE FROM" products align with other healthy attributes (e.g. natural, balanced, and low-sugar) to appeal more broadly to today’s health-conscious consumer needs.
The report "Ingredient Insights: Free From", identifies how food and drink brands can address demand for products free from either gluten or dairy allergens using on-trend and emerging ingredients.
- Over half of consumers globally consider products marketed as suitable for their dietary requirements to feel more tailored to their needs.
- Natural ingredients are the top factor most likely to encourage consumers to choose one brand over another.
- Just 15% of consumers who claim to have bought gluten-free food and drink have done so because they are gluten-intolerant.
Reasons To Buy
- Gain insight into consumer trends and perceptions towards ingredients to support "free from" formulation strategies.
- Identify new and emerging ingredients to help overcome challenges with removing gluten or dairy/lactose from product formulations.
- Discover the latest innovation and learn from what other brands are doing to address demand for gluten- or dairy/lactose-free offerings.
- Explore future challenges that the industry may face in responding to "free from" demand.