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Gluten-free diets, fad or fiction?
Have you read the Time magazine recently? If you have, you may be familiar with the gluten-free debate. In a recent article, Jeffrey Kluger reported more than 93% of the world has no trouble with gluten yet marketers are clinging onto the ‘gluten-free fad’ which has been referred to as this decade’s equivalent to the ‘fat-free fad’.
Here we discuss with brand strategist and Sevendots partner, Robin Plotkin, what she thinks to the gluten-free saga.
Is ‘gluten-free’ just a ‘fad’?
I think it has had too much of an impact on the market for too long to be considered a fad. The trend has been going on for too long and is expected to continue into the future, albeit at a slower rate.
How should marketers respond to these types of trends?
Seven out of ten of most successful food product launches in 2013 were in the Better For You arena. And, given that these products command higher prices and generate more profits I think that says it all!
That said, I think marketers need to figure out a way to differentiate their products from the competition, be it through packaging, messaging, advertising, etc. I also think that being thought leaders is important – telling the truth about the benefits (or lack of benefits) of certain ingredients, whom they benefit, etc.
For the vast majority of people eating a gluten-free diet is not helpful and can, is some cases, be detrimental.
Are there any other trends that have had a similar impact in the past?
Last month, Time magazine also discussed the fat-free trend This trend took over eating habits for so long starting in America in the 1980s and is now being called into question.
Is the ‘gluten-free’ era coming to an end?
Gluten-free is now a current trend in pet food so I don’t think the trend is quite over yet!