The Willis Report: Before you buy gluten free products - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

The Willis Report: Before you buy gluten free products

Posted: Updated:

By Gerri Willis
FOX Business Network


You can't go anywhere these days without running into gluten-free products. Whether you're at the grocery store or in a restaurant, the gluten-free option is everywhere. Heck, even the Girl Scouts this year are offering gluten-free cookies. The question is do you need to buy them?

Gluten-free, according to the federal government means getting rid of the protein found in wheat, rye and barley. People with severe gluten allergies, a condition called celiac disease, obviously try to stay away from gluten. But those folks make up only one percent of the population. What's going on now is that food manufacturers are promoting these foods to everyone as healthier.

And, it's working. The business of gluten-free products is expected to grow 50 percent in the next few years to $15 billion in sales by 2016. Today's gluten-free products are purchased by 11 percent of customers – more than ten times the number with celiac. At the same time, wheat flour consumption has fallen to a 22-year low, according to the U.S.D.A. So these non-wheat products are popular with loads of health-conscious consumers who believe in its benefits. Experts say as many as 18 million people or 6 percent of the population may have a sensitivity to gluten.

But here's the rub: These products are more expensive than their more common counterparts – way more. Consumer Reports estimates that gluten-free products can cost two to three times more than regular non-gluten free products. What's more, you don't have to pay the premium price to stay away from wheat in some categories. Plenty of foods are naturally gluten-free, like polenta, rice-crackers and nuts.  

Even so, food makers are on the bandwagon. General Mills, whose brands include Bisquick and Pillsbury, has begun reformulating products to remove gluten. It's already reformulated Chex and plans to introduce gluten-free brownies, cookies and cakes next year. Likewise, the grocery store chain, Wegman's, is now the country's largest seller of gluten-free products. New brands , like Udi's and Glutino, are taking advantage of the trend.

Just keep in mind as you shop the supermarket aisles that cheaper options may be available.

Interact with Gerri on Twitter @GerriWillisFBN and Facebook for more information, or to voice your concerns and questions.

Copyright 2014 by myFOXDetroit.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • BusinessMore>>

  • SEC poised to end $1 a share for some money funds

    SEC poised to end $1 a share for some money funds

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 1:10 AM EDT2014-07-23 05:10:56 GMT
    Regulators are expected to vote Wednesday to end a longtime staple of the investment industry - the fixed $1 share price for money-market mutual funds - at least for some money funds used by big investors.
    Regulators are expected to vote Wednesday to end a longtime staple of the investment industry - the fixed $1 share price for money-market mutual funds - at least for some money funds used by big investors.
  • Asia stocks bolstered by US earnings, home sales

    Asia stocks bolstered by US earnings, home sales

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:53 AM EDT2014-07-23 04:53:43 GMT
    Asian stock markets were mostly higher Monday as anxiety over the downing of a Malaysian jetliner over Ukraine eased and investors shifted their focus to U.S. corporate earnings.
    Asian stock markets posted moderate gains Wednesday, bolstered by solid U.S. earnings and home sales. Indonesian stocks advanced after the official vote count showed Joko Widodo the clear winner of a bitterly contested...
  • CEO: Clippers coach to quit if Sterling stays

    CEO: Clippers coach to quit if Sterling stays

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:03 AM EDT2014-07-23 04:03:50 GMT
    Richard Parsons, the interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers, is due to step into the battle of billionaires going on in probate court over the proposed sale of the Los Angeles Clippers.
    The interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers testified Tuesday that coach Doc Rivers told him he will quit if Donald Sterling remains the owner of the team.
Powered by WorldNow

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices