Gluten free is a category growing rapidly in a number of markets, including the UK, where mainstream companies like Warburtons, as well as overseas firms like US group Boulder Brands, have moved into the sector. Italy-based Dr Schar is the world's largest gluten-free specialist. Bob Trice, the MD of Dr Schär's UK arm, spoke to Dean Best about the growing competition in and the outlook for the industry.
Boulder Brands is a business under a decade old but one now approaching annual sales of over US$450m. CEO Stephen Hughes set up an investment vehicle in 2005 that became Smart Balance in 2007 when it acquired GFA Brands, the owner of the Smart Balance brand. However, in the last two years, with the spreads sector under pressure, Hughes has brought balance to the business with moves into gluten free - and changed its name to reflect its wider portfolio. In part one of a two-part interview, Hughes discusses Boulder Brands' buoyant gluten-free business.
Free-from specialist Dr. Schär is launching Mini Os gluten- and wheat-free biscuits as part of its DS-Gluten Free brand in the UK.
Tesco's bid to try again to revitalise its UK sales grabbed the headlines this week and we looked at the retailer's moves to build a multichannel business. just-food also reported from the Gulfood trade fair in Dubai, where we met a series of senior executives including Mondelez International's regional boss. Our interview pages this week also featured the boss of gluten-free firm Dr Schär's UK arm and the CFO of Scandinavian dairy giant Arla Foods.
This week saw some significant news come out of the US, with Post Holdings announcing yet more acquisitions, WhiteWave Foods striking a deal to buy organic produce group Earthbound Farm - and the first results of Kellogg's efficiency drive emerging with plans to close plants overseas.
The first impact of Kellogg's "efficiency and effectiveness programme" emerged this week with news the US food group will close plants in Australia and Canada. Elsewhere, initial findings from a Government-backed report into the UK food supply chain were announced and the EU's food watchdog announced rules on aspartame were "safe".
Gluten-free firm Dr Schar has set out plans for a "five-fold increase" in product launches in the UK in 2014.
Gluten-free food manufacturers have likely rejoiced at news the number of people diagnosed in the UK with coeliac disease increased fourfold between 1990 and 2011. Obviously it's not good news people have the condition. But it does mean awareness of the condition is growing and therefore demand for gluten-free foodstuffs is on the up.
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