As Caternet releases Catering for Gluten-free: who wins? we reflect on two stand-out themes from our new report.
Supply and demand
Coeliac disease – a lifelong autoimmune disease caused by a reaction to gluten – is a condition that affects around one in every 100 people in the UK. A hungry market has developed with 22% of British consumers buying gluten-free products each week. As a continually underserved market, there is a premium on free-from foods; a good example being a leading pizza brand sold at £5.90/kg versus £8.60/kg for the gluten-free version.
There are over 83k businesses operating in the restaurant and mobile food service industry in the UK (2016). Yet the UK’s leading Coeliac disease charity only lists 7371 venues in its accredited and crowd-sourced guide – with the highest concentration in the Midlands, south Wales and London. There remains huge growth potential for catering and hospitality trades. Our report looks at the numbers.
Foodservice versus retail
Whether you’re a head chef, menu manager or procurement professional, we’re sure you’ll recognise the increasing requests from your customers to increase your gluten-free offer. Our research into the Coeliac-friendly ingredients market found one of the UK’s largest wholesalers offers a range suitable for most sectors, from primary school to five-star hotel. However, removing customer-facing, shelf-ready products left only 128 commercial lines specifically aimed at this ever-growing market. There remains a large inconsistency between traditional on-trade brands and their retail offer.
Whilst many operators have for years, tailored choices toward vegetarian and nut-free diets, our team on the ground still finds many sites unaware of opportunities for revenue growth through combining simple swaps and food safety vigilance, and how catering software can support legal compliance.