Incorporating gluten-free crusts doesn't have to be difficult

The global gluten-free market is set to grow by $1.2 billion throughout the next five years, eventually reaching $4.3 billion by 2015, according to recent research by Datamonitor.

A majority of that market growth will come from the U.S. foodservice industry, which is expected to grow by more than $500 million by 2014.

Several pizza companies have tapped into the gluten-free market, including Uno Chicago Grill, Mellow Mushroom, Naked Pizza and Garlic Jim’s, offering alternative options for those who suffer from celiac disease and diet subscribers alike.

Gluten-free options have garnered a strong enough foothold in the industry to be represented at both the 2011 International Pizza Expo, March 1-3 in Las Vegas, and the North American Pizza and Ice Cream Show in February in Columbus, Ohio.

In Vegas, gluten-free industry experts Alice Bast, president and founder of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), and Bryan Scherer, Penford Food Ingredient Company's director of research and development, presented an educational session titled "Understanding Gluten-free Foodservice Opportunities." It was the first session at the expo to be focused on gluten-free offerings.

In Columbus, R.W. Bakers Co. in Muskegon, Mich., offered its gluten-free pizzas for attendees to try along with fact sheets about celiac and other intolerances.

Mike Voorhees of R.W. Bakers Co. attributes the industry's 10-percent growth within the past year to a new, simpler testing process to detect celiac disease and increased health insurance coverage opportunities.

“If you offer gluten-free, are you going to get busloads of celiacs showing up at your restaurant every night?," Voorhees said. "No, but you will get a group of people who may have one or two celiacs or someone who is gluten intolerant with them and they will seek your restaurant out and they will return.”

He spoke to further about the gluten-free trend:  


Photo by Whatsername?

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