Free-From Foods Have Become a Movement

More ingredients are designed to accommodate free-from foods, which makes formulating products easier.

The “free-from” phenomenon has caught on in the U.S., and last year Innova Market Insights identified free-from as a hot trend for 2016. As Americans continue to be affected by food allergens and intolerances, more than ever, they want to know what’s in their food, where it comes from and the details about how it’s made.

That’s no easy feat for product formulators, but developing gluten- and allergen-free foods is getting easier, and more food companies are expanding their offerings. There’s even a gluten-free vodka. Stolichnaya’s Stoli Gluten Free vodka hit stores in April, thanks to the growing interest in gluten-free diets.

But protecting people from even more, the Top Eight major food allergens — milk, eggs, fish, crustaceans, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans — has been a growing segment among many food companies over the past decade. The largest portion of the free-from market is in gluten-free foods, with sales reaching $11.6 billion in 2015, according to Mintel. There’s even a free-from/gluten-free tradeshow called GF & AF Expo, held in various regions across the country this year. Sales are still growing, at 25 percent, though consumers intolerant of or sensitive to gluten aren’t the only target group any more. Thus, companies are building and installing dedicated production areas for as many free-from ingredients as they can…

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