Blog: Katy Askewjust-food visits the 2014 Free-From Expo

Katy Askew | 4 June 2014

The free-from sector is witnessing strong growth in developed markets from Europe to the US and beyond.

A growing awareness of allergies and intolerances has widened the consumer base now looking at free-from alternatives. Driven by health and wellness concerns, the march of the free-from sector has also been supported by celebrity diet trends and exponents of free-from in sports nutrition.

The rapidly expanding gluten-free area is one that has caught the attention of many food manufacturers, responding to heightened demand from coeliacs and lifestyle consumers. Mainstream brands such as Warburtons and Heinz - spanning categories from baked goods to sauces and condiments - have jumped on the gluten-free bandwagon.

Elsewhere, GM-free is a message that is becoming more important, particularly in the politically charged atmosphere of the US. As the labelling war wages stateside, a GM-free message has become one that manufacturers can leverage to build consumer trust. Both Post Holdings and General Mills, for instance, have added GMO-free labelling to their mainstream cereal brands.

It does not end there - meat-free, dairy-free, nut-free, wheat-free, sugar-free. The list goes on.

Free-from is gradually moving out of the margins. Once the preserve of health food and specialty shops, it now demands a place in conventional supermarkets and convenience stores. However, much of the impetus for free-from production and innovation can be found with SMEs and up-and-coming firms that specialise in a particular area.

just-food is at this year's Free-From Expo in Brussels on 3/4 June to bring you updates of the latest free-from trends emerging. We will bring you news and views from the two day event, trend-spotting as your eyes and ears on the ground in this innovative sector.



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