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The free from trend continues to grow at a rapid rate, and an ever-expanding range of products made up of formulations specifically designed to be free of common food allergens (gluten, dairy, eggs, peanuts) show up on shelves.

However, building alongside this is an overall push for sustainability, which, said Loretta Kelly, director of Strategic Marketing for Blue Diamond Global Ingredients Division, has aided the growth of the free from movement.

“There is often an overlap with free-from friendly and sustainable ingredients, helping further expand consumer interest in both. Free from food and beverages offer a sense of safety and security, allowing consumers to enjoy a product without worrying about an allergic reaction,”​ Kelly told BakeryandSnacks, adding that while the free from market in North America is showing more growth, regions such as South Asia and Oceania are becoming increasingly drawn to the benefits of free from products, breaking ground for a large market potential.

Avoiding ingredients

In its report Allergen-Free Foods: an Opportunity for the Food Industry​, the Food Institute revealed that 1 in 4 Americans avoids buying a product that contains one of the nine major food allergens as a result of an allergy. Additionally, 71% of global consumers check food labels every time they shop.

“With a large portion of the consumer base avoiding certain ingredients, food and beverage producers must meet a rapidly increasing need for allergen-free offerings. That’s where the free from trend comes into play,”​ said Kelly.