Innovate Blog
Did you know that drinks can contain gluten too?

Friday June 22, 2018

According to consumer data group Euromonitor, global sales of gluten-free food and drink jumped 12.6 per cent year on year in 2017 to $3.5bn, compared with overall packaged food and drink experienced growth of just over 4 per cent. Euromonitor forecasts that the gluten-free retail market has expanded rapidly worldwide and is expected reach $4.7bn by 2020.

Whilst many people know about gluten-free food, some don’t know what gluten actually is. Gluten is a protein that is found naturally in wheat and other grains. If you have Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you will often have to eliminate gluten from your diet altogether.

The reason why those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance have to avoid eating gluten is because their bodies overreact to the protein and damage their villi, which are very small finger-like projections found along the wall of the small intestine. When the villi are injured, the small intestine can’t properly absorb nutrients from food, this can lead to malnourishment, as well as loss of bone density, miscarriages, infertility — even to the start of neurological diseases, or certain cancers.

In the UK it is now said that up to a third of adults are completely avoiding gluten, due to health reasons, and numbers are growing rapidly. However what many people don’t know is that gluten can also be found in drinks as well as food.

According to supermarket Tesco gluten free beverage products increased by 32 per cent in 2017. In particular, there has been an increase in gluten-free spirits, beers, ciders, wine and some cordials too.

In 2017 UK brewery BrewDog conducted a poll on their Twitter page asking consumers whether they would like them to create a gluten-free beer, and a whopping 97 per cent said yes. Following this major result they released their gluten-free beer called Vagabond, which has become one of their best sellers and has been praised its likeness to beer that contains gluten.

Ewa Hudson, head of health and wellness at Euromonitor, said gluten-free options had previously been scarce in the convenience market, with consumers forced to completely stay away from beverages that contain gluten. But convenience had now “found its way into free-from and with that, we are starting to see a rise in beverages that don’t contain gluten,” she said.

Street food market Dinerama in London recently introduced a labelling system which ensure that any food or drinks that does not contain gluten are labelled gluten-free. They simply place a sticker on a cup or food packaging. This makes it extremely clear to the consumers and ensures that they aren’t accidently served a food or drink item that contains gluten.

To ensure that your free-from options are clearly marked and easy for your customers to identify, Free From design labels from our exclusive brand Label 2 Go are a simple and innovative solution within the marketplace.

Label 2 Go offers a complete food packaging labelling solution for all foodservice operators, whether they sell pre-packed food that has been made off site, or pre-packed food for direct sale. The range of labels co-ordinate with the latest packaging and disposables in the marketplace, and where required we can manage the production of bespoke labels too.

The labels currently come in three designs covering the most common free-from food options provided in restaurants, cafes and shops. Designs include Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Vegetarian and come in cases of 1000. The labels are also colour-coded to help customers easily identify suitable products.

See more on our Free From design labels in our Food Packaging e-brochure.