I have at least 5 friends or family members who have a gluten-free preference. And that’s just a preference! I have probably 2-3 more friends, or friends of friends, who can’t eat gluten because of allergies. So it’s no surprise that gluten-free foods are popping up everywhere.
And I mean everywhere. I had a younger cousin growing up who was gluten insensitive and I just remember my aunt bringing different food everywhere we went for her to eat, or baking a different cake for her birthday. Basically you couldn’t find gluten-free alternatives on a restaurant menu to save your life back then. And now when I roll up to a restaurant in Las Vegas, or anywhere I go, I can ask for a gluten-free menu and it wouldn’t be weird.
The University of Maryland School of Medicine Center for Celiac Research has released research that say approximately 18 million US residents suffer from gluten sensitivity, and Packaged Facts market research said that the sale of gluten-free products reached $2.6 billion in 2012 and are expected to top $3 billion by 2014. With numbers like those, it’s no wonder that restaurants have had to accommodate this new set of diners!
Fine dining restaurants aren’t the only ones accommodating gluten-free consumers either. Fast casual chains such as Moe’s Southwest Grill and Zoup! have started to refine gluten-free recipes. Last year Domino’s Pizza announced that they now have a gluten-free crust (which they then had to warn you is made in a kitchen that is surrounded in gluten…so there’s that).
Either way, it’s obvious based on the fact that the number of people with gluten sensitivity issues are expected to rise that this trend isn’t going anywhere and restaurants are going to need to start creating menus that cater to it.