Friday, 1st December, 2017

Free From

Thanks to consumers growing appetite for foods that are perceived to be healthier - as well as the ever rising cost of meat - there has been a dramatic spike in the free-from category. The continued demand for all-natural ingredients has seen gluten, lactose and meat free options experience strong sales growth.

According to consumer data group Euromonitor, 2016 saw various global free-from category sales jump swiftly, gluten-free grew 12.6% year on year, meanwhile meat and lactose free options increased 11.8% and 9.2% respectively.

Health trends are expected to continue to dominate the food-to-go sector well into 2018, boosting the already flourishing segment further.  Coffee and sandwich chain Pret have opened veggie only stores to great acclaim - with an anticipated third on the horizon and fast casual chain Wagamama have boosted their vegan and vegetarian menu offerings due to overwhelming consumer demand.  According to analysts Kantar Worldpanel, 95% of Brits purchased from the lucrative food-to-go market last year.  They reported sales of salads are up 11.5% to £749.9 million, which was boosted by the sectors biggest spender’s millennials - who spend more on lunch than any other demographic – and are also driving the health and well-being sector forward somewhat single-handedly.

Vive, manufacturers of high protein, vegan and gluten-free snack bars, are capitalising on the wellness trends to hit the industry over the last two years.  “These markets have shown huge growth in the last couple of years with far more people, particularly youngsters,” says Louis Bollard, Co-Founder. 

“They are becoming increasingly conscious about the amount of meat they consume.  It is our job, as a food-to-go producer, to ensure that people who have opted for this as a lifestyle or through dietary requirements, have a variety of tasty, healthy and functional products to choose from.”

Vive’s range of products are free from dairy, gluten and soy and contain high protein ingredients that cater to the large proportion of UK consumers who look for a healthier alternative for their lunchtime snack.  This lunchtime market is a key day-part to conquer for many snack producers, and an influx of baked snacks, nuts and seeds and protein balls onto the market proves that brands are now becoming much more sophisticated in what they offer consumers. 

“It’s a really exciting time to be a vegan or a free-from customer as the availability of new products is expanding every day,” enthuses Louis.  “Whether that’s in the snack market, QSR or in places such as speciality coffee shops and retail outlets.

“As options increase and the taste and functionality of free-from and vegan products improves, this will only lead to more people opting to follow these diets and it’ll become easier, healthier and happier for everyone.”

Asian-inspired food chain itsu recently commissioned a report into Britain’s current dietary habits and influences, it revealed that half of millennials are considering giving up meat compared to just 22% of over 55s.  The report also highlighted that when it comes to eating out, 52% of vegans and vegetarians still struggle to find somewhere that caterers for their dietary requirements.

Itsu’s veggie sales have doubled since 2015, with 20% of all sales now coming from meat-free products.  Will Da Silva, Senior Food Development Manager at itsu expressed his disappointment in the variety of vegan and vegetarian options available in the British hospitality industry stating that ‘it’s a shame that so many veggies are still struggling to find restaurants that cater to their dietary requirements’ and how ‘it only reinforces how much food really does mean to the nation.’

Good to be gluten free

Euromonitor predict the global gluten free market will hit value of $4.7 billion by 2020 – up from $1.7 billion in 2011.  This will be driven by not only preference but also dietary necessity due to the high number of coeliac sufferers in the UK.  According to Coeliac UK, coeliac disease is common and affects one in 100 people.  The illness -  which means sufferers endure a life-long aversion to proteins found in wheat, rye and barley – is only diagnosed in 24% of the UK population and Coeliac UK say this means nearly half a million people currently have undiagnosed coeliac disease.

Speaking to QuickBite earlier this year Kathryn Miller, Coeliac UK Head of Food Policy said; “There is a huge demand for more gluten free food when on the move. Coeliac UK are calling on not only convenience retailers but also food services on railways, airlines and airports, entertainment and sports venues, and street food markets to provide more on the move options that cater for everyone, including people on a gluten free diet.

“There is more room for growth with the UK hospitality industry missing out on an estimated £100 million of gluten free business per year, and there are lots of resources available to help businesses who want to offer gluten free options.”

The UKs only gluten free Italian restaurant Leggero opened to much acclaim back in January 2014, originally not completely gluten free they soon acted on the huge customer demand for gluten free Italian food and in 2015 they decided to go 100% gluten free. 

Their menu - which is also veggie, vegan and allergy friendly - went down a storm with customers craving previously unattainable Italian cuisine, and now they are certified by Coeliac UK - the only UK Italian restaurant to achieve this.   

“When we decided to become an entirely gluten-free restaurant we soon realised how many people were coming along to enjoy an experience free-from worries together with lovely food,” explains Cristina Carducci of Leggero. 

“Nowadays, people are much more conscious of the food they eat, there is more awareness about allergies, intolerances and the demand of the market has increased a lot. Also, a fast-paced life-style means people eat out a lot - the market needs to respond to this huge demand.”

With traditional Italian recipes mainly containing Gluten, Leggero has managed to tap into a previously unexplored area of foodservice, one that is going down extremely well with allergy sufferers looking for an inclusive dining experience.  “It’s fantastic to see people with different needs able to enjoy a beautiful dinner all around the same table without having to renounce to anything,” adds Cristina. 

“Allergies and intolerance are very much more taken into consideration, and this is something which we take very seriously.”

Manufacturers of gluten free foods are also seeing huge increases in demand for gluten free products, foodservice bakery brand Kara partnered with Britain’s number one gluten free bakery brand Genius back in 2015 and since then has developed a range of gluten free breads for the foodservice industry.  The success of the existing range and the growing demand for gluten free products has led to the launch of four new products to the range, catering for the 1 in 100 people affected by Coeliac disease in the UK.

With 74% of people stating they would eat out every two weeks if more gluten free options were available (MCA Allegra) Commercial Director of Kara, Chris Haddy said the launch has “come at a great time” and is a “perfect opportunity for out of home vendors to capitalise on this growing market and expand their product offering.”

Vegetable revolution

With the number of people choosing to incorporate a vegetarian or vegan diet also increasing annually – the number of UK vegans has increased by 360% in the last ten years – trends are heavily pointing towards a veg revolution.  Google trends data (2016) saw consumers leaning heavily towards a vegan diet, with an estimated half a million people in the UK following a vegan or plant-based diet – vegan food sales also grew by 1,500% last year. 

Daisy Miceli, Head of Marketing and Engagement for Veganuary, a registered charity that encourages people to try vegan for January says; “With health, environment, and issues of food poverty and hunger all being contributing factors, there are a whole host of reasons why veganism is gaining recognition as the most sensible and sustainable lifestyle choice. People may start to transition to a plant-based diet for health reasons and then they start to feel better. Often this leads them to look into veganism in more detail and then they start to uncover the truth about animal farming.”

According to the Meat and Poultry Report 2017 from the Office for National Statistics, 56% of those surveyed think that meat is not a necessary component of main meals, with 33% stating the reason for cutting back is due to health reasons and 32% stating vegetarian and pescatarian reasons.  The report also said that meat for some surveyed is a luxury, with increased expense (29%) and not being able to afford as much (25%) also main reasons for ditching meat from their diets. 

The report also cited environmental reasons as a factor in many consumers’ meat-free decisions, as the impact of meat production on the environment plays heavy on some consumers’ minds.  In total 34% eat less meat for this reason – rising from 28% in 2015.  Interestingly amongst millennials the sectors most influential market this figure rises drastically to a whopping 50%. 

“On top of this, vegan food is becoming more creative and tastier – it’s now enjoyed by many outside the vegan movement, who just want to eat high-quality food that tastes great and probably makes them feel better after consuming it,” adds Daisy. 

She continues; “With many also citing convenience as a barrier to going vegan, if we see quick-and-easy options that are readily available in mainstream chains then it stands to reason that the number of vegans will rise ¬¬– and that means vegan-friendly options will become increasingly important for brands wanting to stay relevant.”

With veganism hitting the top 3 ‘Things to do to Save the Earth’ (alongside having fewer babies and taking fewer flights), The Canvas – an East London café that recently launched a vegan ‘Tofish and Chips’ dish following the huge success of their vegan freakshakes -are embracing it as a genuinely powerful way to take a positive step towards a better future. 

Owner and founder Ruth Rogers predicts the future of free-from will see more diversity, more choice and more people going vegan and choosing a free-from diet.  Ruth says; “While many people consider themselves plant-based for health reasons, veganism is a popular way to demonstrate dissatisfaction with industries that are very much frowned upon in the world today.

“With more people demanding good vegan and free-from food, more is appearing and soon it won’t be anything other than normal to have excellent food choices available everywhere.”

As for the future of the foodservice industry and the place of free-from within it, Ruth thinks that supporting, enabling and incubating positive activism is the way forward.  Ruth adds; “That’s exactly what veganism is – if we are going to reverse some of the problems facing the planet, it has to be the future!”


• Sam Benjamin, Brand Manager, Too Good To Be Gluten Free
• Marie-Emmanuelle Chessé, International Development Project Manager, Tipiak
• Madeleine Ahlström, Brand Manager, Almondy
• Mohammed Essa, Commercial Director, Aviko UK & Ireland
• Fabien Levet, National Account Manager – Foodservice, Pidy UK
• Ingo Braeunlich, Founder, Adonis Foods
• Gordon Lauder, Managing Director, Central Foods
• Daisy Miceli, Head of Marketing and Engagement, Veganuary
• Louis Bollard, Co-Founder, Vive
• Isla Owen , Senior Marketing Manager, Adelie Foods
• Chris Haddy, Commercial Director, Kara
• Tony Goodman, CEO, Yumsh Snacks (Ten Acre)
• Ruth Rogers, Owner, The Canvas
• Adrian Greaves, Foodservice Director, Young’s Foodservice
• Tammy Fry, International Marketing Director, Fry
• Cristina Carducci, Marketing Manager, Leggero

How important are free-from and vegan products to the food-to-go/QSR market?

Sam Benjamin, brand manager at the UK’s leading gluten free pastry brand Too Good To Be Gluten Free says; “Free-from has moved from a speciality food trend to a major phenomenon.  The UK in general has become more concerned with health and the types of products in their food.  This trend has driven demand for free from food and manufacturers have responded by innovating with new products and developing free from food which tastes as good as non-free from counterparts.

“New product innovation has further increased popularity of the category, and driven up sales across all categories, in particular food to go.

He adds; “According to Mintel, in the last six months, a third (33%) of Brits have bought or eaten any free-from foods, with 22% buying or eating gluten-free products, 19% dairy substitutes (for instance soya cheese), 16% wheat-free and 16% lactose-free.”

Madeleine Ahlström, Brand Manager for Swedish bakery Almondy can see why; “Accounting for 60% of the free-from category, the gluten-free market is now worth £438 million – increasing by 36% between 2015 and 2016 (Coeliac UK), which is why quick service restaurants need to increase the availability of gluten-free dishes.
“Almondy’s annual gluten-free insight reveals that there is continued high demand for free-from food with 28% of consumers revealing they have purchased a free-from product in the last year,” adds Madeleine. 

“The free-from market is huge now. It’s worth more than £627 million and is set to reach £952 million by 2021,” says Gordon Lauder, MD of frozen food distributor Central Foods. “According to Mintel, free-from food was bought and/or eaten by almost a third of adults in the sixth months up to September 2016, which has undoubtedly grown since then.

“According to IPSOS Mori 2016, there are now more than half a million vegans and 1.14 million vegetarians in the UK, meaning free-from now encompasses more than just gluten or dairy free.”

Central Foods has supplied free-from and meat-free products for a number of years, with a continually growing selection.  They now offer a full range including the newly launched gluten-free doughnuts, gluten-free wraps, gluten-free pizza bases, as well as meat-free meatballs, meat-free sausages, and even fish-free scampi. 
Gordon adds; “To illustrate how demand for gluten-free products has impacted us, we worked out that if we laid all the 12-inch gluten-free pizza bases we sold last year end-to-end, it would measure 250 times the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.”

Not only are increasing numbers of people opting for vegan or vegetarian diets, there has also been a rise in flexitarianism (one in three now avoid meat most of the time). Recent research has revealed that more than a quarter (28%) of meat-eating Brits have cut or limited their meat intake in the past six months. The Mintel report also suggests that a further one in seven (14%) adults say they are interested in limiting or reducing their consumption of meat or poultry in the future.

Gordon continues; “The younger generations are the most likely to be following a meat-free lifestyle, and this is a key sector for the food-to-go and QSR industry. The Mintel report said that one in five (19%) Brits under the age of 25 say they do not eat red meat or poultry, rising to one in four (25%) women in this age group. People are turning to vegetarian or vegan lifestyles because of their concerns not only for their own health but also for animal welfare and environmental concerns.

“The world’s burgeoning population is finding it harder than ever to feed itself, particularly ethically, sustainably and at a cost even the poorest people can afford. For these reasons, plant-based eating is becoming increasingly popular, not just in the UK, but around the world,” concludes Gordon. 

Food producers have created a wide variety of products to make it easier for food-to-go and QSR operators to serve up items that are suitable for a range of dietary requirements, whether it’s dairy-free, gluten-free or meat-free products they are looking for, with many products suitable for vegans, as well as those on a gluten-free diet.

Giving customers a full range of free-from options is therefore the key to including all possible customers instead of excluding a large proportion.
Greaves of Young’s Foodservice explains; “Catering appropriately for all diners will ensure that everyone enjoys their experience, without feeling excluded due to their allergies, intolerances or lifestyle choices.

“For those looking for a healthier choice, fish is a good source of protein, rich in vitamins and therefore a firm favourite with many diners.”

Extremely versatile fish can be cooked in many different ways as well as also being suitable for pescatarian diners.  Young’s foodservice have developed various different products to provide operators with an easy to prepare item for creating free-from dishes. 

Tammy Fry International Marketing Director of Fry, a family run business who specialise in a range of vegan products that are available all over the world says; “As shopping habits change and lifestyle pressures increase, consumers are looking for quick and easy meals on the go.  At Fry’s we feel that all retailers, but especially those offering a food-to-go service, should reflect this shift in their plant based offering. 

“The challenge now is for the food-to-go and QSR markets to follow suit, with some lagging behind in recognising this trend and responding with increased vegan offers.”

Why is free-from food growing in popularity?

“The UK free-from market is at an all-time high. The persistent demand for free-from food is ultimately due to the customers with various food allergies or intolerances,” says Fabien Levet, of specialist ready to fill pastry manufacturers Pidy UK.

“However, customers are also becoming more concerned about where their food is coming from and choosing to seek healthier options; this has also helped to further drive the popularity of free-from eating.  Customers are instantly attracted to free-from products and are willing to pay a premium price for a healthier alternative,” adds Fabien. 

“As a result, all areas of foodservice have had to make a conscious effort to adapt their offering to include products suitable for special diets to ensure they keep up with the competition.”

Ingo Braeunlich founder of Adonis Foods, a London-based producer of free-from snacks, says: “For overall health, as well as ethical and sustainability reasons. Veganism no longer has an extreme ‘outsider’ position so people are much more rational about their choices now.

“We are seeing more and more consumers making fewer compromises in their lifestyle choices, especially when it comes to free-from and vegan product purchases.”

Consumers get used to new trends and standards quickly and will therefore expect retailers to cater for their needs with a solid selection of free-from and vegan products.

With the gluten-free market now worth £210m, Coeliac UK predicts half a million people in the UK are yet to be diagnosed with a gluten intolerance. As awareness grows, and more consumers are diagnosed demand will naturally increase. 

“Despite 13% of people having a food intolerance – rising to 17% amongst 18-34’s – Almondy’s research also shows that consumers are increasingly looking to buy free-from foods as part of a lifestyle choice,” says Madeleine Ahlström. 

“Demand for gluten-free cake options – especially from millennials who really do want their gluten-free cake and to eat it - is growing year by year and this is likely to continue. In fact 42% of consumers are more likely to order a free-from cake rather than a standard cake (Toluna/Almondy 2017).”

Almondy’s range of gluten-free cakes is made in a certified gluten-free bakery. Having served the UK foodservice market for 11 years, Almondy is an established brand in not only the gluten-free community, but also bakery fans who love their confectionery – with 93% of millennials stating they would buy Almondy’s globally best-selling branded cakes, Daim Cake and Toblerone Cake (Toluna/Almondy 2017).

There is no denying that free from has moved from a speciality food trend to a major phenomenon.  The UK in general has become more concerned with health and the types of products in their food explains Sam Benjamin.  “This trend has driven demand for free from food and manufacturers have responded by innovating with new products and developing free from food which tastes as good as non-free from counterparts.

“New product innovation has further increased popularity of the category, and driven up sales across all categories, in particular food to go,” adds Sam. 

What are the latest trends in the free-from and vegan market?

“All of a sudden, brands seem to be recognising that vegans need convenience as much as their omnivorous friends – and a solitary (and lacklustre) option just won’t cut it anymore,” explains Daisy Miceli.  “Retailers are coming to the realisation that falafel and hummus - though still very much loved in the vegan community - are not the only vegan-friendly options.

“Restaurants are experimenting with flavour more – dishes featuring sweet potato, avocado, chickpeas and beans tend to be crowd pleasers and we’re seeing savoury options busting with flavours. Dairy-free cheese is going from strength to strength with more varieties available in mainstream eateries, and this has transformed the pizza market.

Daisy adds; “Many pizza-eaters might not even detect a difference if you swapped their dairy mozzarella for an (equally creamy) rice-based alternative. And ever better news, dessert no longer has to be a dull fruit salad, with cakes and tortes and chocolate bars all emerging.

With more vegans and vegetarians emerging, manufacturers will ultimately find success in offering a wide range of free-from options.  Ingo Braeunlich says; “We are going in a direction where more and more people are becoming vegan – just at different levels.  There are the liberal types and at the other end of the scale, the more focused that will not touch anything that doesn’t have a vegan label.

“The liberal side of the spectrum opens up the opportunities for a higher volume of people to make one or two meals vegan consciously during the week.

Adonis have also witnessed first-hand the emergence of ‘combination diets’ whereby consumers want both vegan and gluten-free options. Ingo explains; “A combination of vegan and gluten free was very rare in the early days as vegan food will very often be high in sugar.

“Food development is moving forward and we are trying to push what is possible through Adonis. Our products are low in sugar, vegan, gluten free and soy free and still remain 100% natural.”

In regards to the lucrative food-to-go market and the important lunchtime day-part functionality is still key.  Louis says; “The consumer has moved on from simply demanding an empty, often tasty snack that ticks the vegan/free-from boxes but doesn’t really have a functional benefit.

“An example is plant-based proteins, which have seen a huge increase in popularity recently and provide a functional as well.”

For three years Ten Acre gave led the way in providing a one-stop snacking opportunity for the foodservice industry.  Ten Acre crisps and popcorn are ‘free-from plus’ meaning that they are gluten, dairy MSG and GMO free, as well as vegan and vegetarian certified.  They have found that the latest trends surrounding free-from products seems to be quite simply, more. 

“Free-from is not a trend anymore- it is here to stay, “says Tony Goodman of Yumsh Snacks, creators of Ten Acre crisps and popcorn.  “You cannot have a small offering in a corner that consumers need to search for.  Free-from products need to be the first items that a customer discovers in store.

“If your space is at a premium, then just stocking free-from products can be the answer.  When you choose leading brands, one product can deliver on taste and on all dietary requirements.”

Food to go is just that – food for consumers on the move and food for consumers who don’t have time to carefully read a packet for ingredients.  For Ten Acre this is key, Tony says; “If a customer can come in and quickly ‘grab’ a product from the shelves that everyone can eat – this makes for speedier purchases, shorter queues, and all-round satisfaction.”

What considerations do businesses need to take when preparing/serving free-from products alongside non free-from products?

“Almost 60% of people don’t realise that not all chips are gluten-free, meaning quick service restaurants could run the risk of serving gluten to those with an intolerance, which could result in serious side effects,” says Mohammed Essa.  “With a massive 70% of people opting for chips as their preferred gluten-free side out-of-home, operators must take a second look at their potato sides and the gluten that could potentially be hiding in servings.”

“It’s essential that operators are not only clear on the allergens contained in ingredients or products used in their menus, but are also aware of the dangers of serving food containing gluten to coeliac sufferers. Take potatoes for example, though they don’t contain gluten, how and where they are prepared means that operators could be unintentionally serving gluten to customers,” adds Mohammed. 

Aviko also supports operators with its ‘top tips’ booklet, a guide to catering for gluten-free and coeliac customers out-of-home. It aims to better equip operators with the information needed to ensure gluten-free dishes are prepared without the risk of contamination.  The ‘Top Tips for Gluten-Free Out-Of-Home’ booklet has facts, hints and product information to help operators become true Gluten-Free Heroes. It also includes coeliac friendly recipes such as the Indian-inspired Aloo Palak and traditional British Cider Battered Fish and Chips, created with respected chef and representative of the Craft Guild of Chefs, Daniel Ayton.

Maintaining a solid brand identity is crucial in order for menu offerings to remain as clear as possible which is essential in the world of free-from.  Ingo Braeunlich says; “To build consumer trust, it is easier to stand as a brand for a specific lifestyle choice. Mixing lifestyle choices confuses people quickly.

“With Adonis, we’ve tried to target the busy office worker that struggles to find time to do exercise and relies on healthy snacking.”

Too Good to Be Gluten Free believe that retailers need to put a more concentrated effort into the merchandising of their free from products than they do with their non-free from products.  Sam Benjamin says; “Merchandising is key to driving sales or free from products.  The standard strategy in merchandising is to put all free from products together and that’s what a lot of big retailers are doing, however, we believe that retailers should aim to market products in parent categories.

“By merchandising this way, retailers can appeal to that bigger free from lifestyle audience and potentially convert shoppers to profitable free from purchases. Retailers we work with who have done this have seen uplift in sales.  For example, if a consumer is coming in for a snack, free from options should be together with the rest of the food options, that way retailers can appeal to that bigger free from lifestyle audience and potentially convert shoppers to profitable free from purchases.”

Sam adds; “Retailers should also analyse their range and sales, look at what lines are substitutable and what will drive real incremental sales. Gaining an understanding of what their consumer missions are within the free-from category is essential to develop the approach and tactics which should be applied.  Tactical merchandising against specific occasions is also key in order to help the consumer with their choice.”

Of course it is important to remember that vegans and vegetarians are able to eat at many (most in fact) fast-food restaurants. Daisy says; “Many veggie burgers are vegan so long as you hold the cheese, mayo or yoghurt dressing – and they can add in alternative sauces like standard ketchup and bbq or, in some chains, or go for more interesting additions such as avocado or sweet chili sauce.

“The issue is that, as many options need to be adjusted, vegan and free-from consumers are likely to lack confidence when visiting some of the popular chains. Adding dedicated vegan options to the menu could be a solution, and some already have a specific vegetarian / vegan menu.”

Further to this, there’s sometimes confusion over how items like fries or chips are cooked – in the UK they’re likely to be fried in a vegetable-based oil but many restaurants and cafés could see an increase in vegan customers if clear labelling is implemented across all dishes.

“Ensure that all staff are clear about what makes a dish vegan – this applies to front of house as well as those in the kitchen,” adds Daisy.

“Then implement and follow a clear process for food preparation. It’s important that this is taken seriously as customers ordering vegan foods may also have allergies or intolerances to dairy or egg.

“It is easy to avoid cross contamination of vegan and non-vegan foods simply by following the FSA guidelines that restaurants should already be working to. These are the main points at which cross contamination is possible…”

The future of free from…..

As free-from options continue to gain momentum and consumers become more adventurous, those following a free-from lifestyle are increasing.  Large companies are now adding gluten free and vegan options to their menus, and this will undoubtedly continue to impact the rest of the foodservice industry - who are likely to follow suit. 

Chipotle Mexican Grill - which has six restaurants across London, including Soho, Baker Street, Islington and The City - gained gluten free accreditation from Coeliac UK for all of its sites in London earlier this year.  Chipotle worked closely with Coeliac UK for a number of months during the accreditation process, which included a series of audits and staff training on the preparation and serving of gluten-free food. 
James Dannatt, marketing manager, Chipotle in Europe, commented on the accreditation: “We are delighted to achieve gluten free accreditation from Coeliac UK.”
Dannatt also commented on the fact that the accreditation will allow them to continue to make London “a safe place for those with coeliac disease to enjoy (their) food.” 

World Vegan Month

November was World Vegan Month, and new research released by The Vegan Society – a registered educational charity that promotes the vegan lifestyle– found that the reception to vegan foods is overwhelmingly positive.  They found that more than half of UK adults are now adopting vegan-buying behaviours and Britain is more vegan-friendly than ever before.

The research found that one in five (19%) cut down on the amount of meat they buy and nearly one in eight (13%) now choose meat or dairy free options from the menu when eating out.

Around half of those surveyed (51%) said they welcomed the rise in vegan foods available in shops, cafes and restaurants, with almost one in 10 (9%) saying they would like to see an even greater choice of vegan food options on offer.

However despite huge advances in the market and the obvious consumer demand for all free-from products Nielson data has found that 42% of people with specialised diets or family members with food intolerances still say product offerings don’t fully meet their dietary needs.

“Consumers need help from manufacturers and retailers when it comes to changing diets to address various concerns, particularly as some are prioritising ingredients over brands,” commented Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight. 

“It’s a win-win for both groups as it provides the industry with a significant opportunity to drive new and alternative product portfolios that people want to buy for the long-term.”