A growing niche

The entire Juvela range is gluten-free and in addition some products are also wheat-free, dairy-free and soya-free
The entire Juvela range is gluten-free and in addition some products are also wheat-free, dairy-free and soya-free

The "free-from" sector is one of the fastest growing in niche foods. In certain respects it has the potential to surpass vegetarianism and veganism as a market driver and, as an often clinical based food choice, to move into the mainstream of food provision and purchase.


Brand Central

21 June 2013

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  • It’s estimated up to 6% of the population suffer with gluten sensitivity (Source: Clinic data from Prof A Fasano, Baltimore Clinic, US)
  • The Coaelic Society of Ireland says Ireland has one of the highest prevalence of coeliac disease in the world.
  • The gluten-free market is a growing opportunity, with ever-increasing demand for gluten-free products in shops
  • 1% of the Irish population is estimated to be coeliac, this equates to nearly 50,000 people, with many more undiagnosed
  • A Bord Bia report found that clear labelling, competitive pricing and taste are the key components of the ideal free-from product
  • According to Bord Bia, the dominant category within free-from is bread and baked goods, with recent "fresh" product developments warmly received by the trade. The greatest scope for further product developments is also envisaged to be in the bread area
  • Avonmore Lactose Free Milk is one of the fastest growing milk brands in Ireland
  • Nature’s Path has recently launched into the Irish marketplace after becoming firmly established in England, Scotland and Wales
  • The soya category in Ireland is growing and achieved sales of €4.6 million in the last year
  • Alpro is growing 6% year-on-year in the Irish market (Nielsen Scantrack 24 Feb 2013)
  • It’s estimated 13% of the population believe they, or a member of their family, have an intolerance to milk or other dairy products
  • Sales of Alpro soya plant-based alternatives to yogurts are up 27% in value year-on-year (Nielsen Scantrack 24 Feb 2013)
  • The nut drinks sector is proving popular with consumers as it has already grown to represent 4% of the Irish plant-based market (Nielsen Scantrack 24 Feb 2013)


World cuisine

DS-gluten free says retailers should have seen uplift in sales of bread, flour, pasta and savoury snacks since the HSE cut the provision of gluten-free foods via the GMS list for coeliacs. To help consumers locate equivalent products in-store and ease the transition, DS-gluten free sent a direct mail to consumers with a coupon attached to encourage them to purchase their gluten-free foods from supermarkets.


There are increasing numbers of new consumers entering the category of free-from who may be shopping for alternative reasons. It’s estimated that up to 6% of the population could suffer with gluten sensitivity. DS-gluten free is raising awareness of this newly recognised condition which may attract five times the number of consumers currently shopping.


DS-gluten free is set to launch its range of frozen Italian pizzas to the Irish market in the coming months.

The range will be available under the DS-gluten free Bonta d’Italia sub-brand. The range represents ‘the goodness of Italy’ and is a combination of authentic Italian ingredients and traditional cooking techniques to deliver great tasting food. Both the Salami and Margherita Bonta d’Italia pizza are stone baked for a traditional Italian flavour.

DS-gluten free advises retailers to ensure that the selection of products offered caater for all consumer needs so that the gluten-free customer does not need to shop around. Offering a mix of ambient and frozen gluten-free foods is key. The firm also says that store compliance is a key area, planograms need to be implemented to ensure that the product range offered covers all key categories.


To stand out in the category, retailers should ensure that staff has some basic training on coeliac disease, the gluten-free diet and that the fixture is well signposted.

 Kelkin has recently been awarded the Crossed Grain Symbol, a sign of safe gluten-free foods

Multiple partners

Kelkin says it’s excited and proud to be health food category partners with the major multiples. In recent years, the company has been working to achieve the vision for the free-from category of creating a ‘shop within a shop’; educating customers, encouraging non-users into the space and rewarding existing consumers with a positive shopping experience. This has been realised in 24 Superquinn stores where free-from space was trialled across nine, seven, six and three bay plans.

The company has also been working with various symbol and independent stores to create a free-from space from a half bay plan upwards. Gluten-free was previously a term solely associated with a dietary need rather than a consumer lifestyle choice. Today, there is an increasing awareness of modern health risks and people are actively taking control of their health and wellbeing. As well as offering a wide range of gluten-free products, Kelkin are dedicated to providing information to coeliac consumers. Kelkin has recently been awarded the globally recognised Crossed Grain Symbol which will feature across its gluten-free range in the coming months. The symbol is a sign of safe gluten-free foods and it may only be used under license on food and drink products that meet specific criteria. It provides great reassurance for consumers making gluten-free choices. For more information on free-from products contact info@kelkin.ie or 01-4600400.

From niche to mainstream

As market leaders in the pharmacy gluten-free market, Juvela has seen phenomenal growth in its retail business as many of their customers are now buying products from supermarkets following the removal of gluten-free foods from the Medical Card and Drugs Payment Scheme in 2012. Despite the HSE cuts, coeliac customers still have to purchase their gluten-free foods and many of those that were sourcing them through the chemist are now buying their Juvela breads, rolls and mixes with their regular shopping. This presents retailers with an opportunity to capture new customers and grow their gluten-free category.


Juvela offers a comprehensive range of high quality, great tasting staple foods that make up an important part of a balanced diet. The range consists of breads, rolls, pure oats, breakfast cereals, biscuits and baking mixes. The entire range is gluten-free, in addition, some of the range is wheat, dairy and soya-free. The new Juvela Crackers are set to launch this month. Similar to cream crackers, these tasty snacks are perfect for topping, dipping or crunching straight from the pack. Conveniently packed in two individual bags, they make the perfect snack for when you’re out and about. The launch will be supported by direct mail, advertising, shelf barkers in-store, digital marketing and at Juvela roadshow events.


Juvela launched Pure Oats following requests from customers for ‘real porridge’ using gluten-free oats. Pure Oats is gluten-free, wheat-free and is specially handled from planting through to production to avoid contamination from other grains. The fields, harvest and production are subject to strict quality control and the results are the delicious Pure Oats with the Juvela brand heritage. Juvela cereal range are gluten and wheat-free. The range consists of Special Flakes, Special Flakes with Red Berries and Fibre Flakes. The Juvela range is distributed by SHS Sales and Marketing.


Growing milk

Avonmore Lactose Free Milk is the only product of its kind on the market and one of the fastest growing milk brands in Ireland. The milk gives those suffering from an intolerance or allergy to lactose exactly what they want: all the nutritional benefits and delicious taste of Avonmore milk but without the lactose. Lactose intolerance affects many people in many different ways, however the most common symptoms often include bloating and stomach cramps. It’s estimated that 13% of the population in Ireland believe they, or a member of their family, have an intolerance to milk or other dairy products. Consumers love the great taste of Lactose Free Milk and are very loyal to the product. Avonmore Lactose Free Milk is available nationwide ad is being supported through digital and press advertising.


Heinz leading the way

Heinz is set to shake up the fast-growing free-from market and is leading the way for market leading FMCG companies with the recent launch of its gluten-free range of dried pasta and pasta sauces. Heinz gluten-free Penne, Macaroni and Spaghetti are produced by Heinz in Italy using a blend of cornflour, potato flour and lupin flour to ensure perfect flavour and ‘bite’. All varieties are available in a 500g pack.

Heinz gluten-free Smooth Pasta Sauces in Tomato and Basil and Tomato and Oregano varieties along with Tomato Frito are produced in Spain to an authentic Spanish recipe and will be sold in handy 210g cartons in response to consumer demand for one or two serving packs, rather than larger packs, in order to reduce wastage.


Be free

BFree Foods, one of Ireland’s most pioneering health conscious food companies, manufacturing fresh and frozen wheat and gluten-free bakery products, has just launched its first-to-market new BFree Multigrain wraps. Not only do the wraps hold the title of the lowest calorie wrap on shelf at just 99 calories but it also boasts a range of health benefits including gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free and egg-free. High in fibre and low in fat, the Multigrain wraps are available in Dunnes Stores at a RRP of €3.99.

Founded just over a year ago, BFree has secured nationwide listings with all major multiples including Dunnes Stores, Tesco, Musgrave and BWG, a partnership with O’Brien’s sandwich bars and celebrity chef Rachel Allen with a selection of signature sandwiches. The company is now set to enter into the UK market with the launch of the Multigrain Wrap to 434 Asda stores in July.


Love more options

CKS is a leading supplier of free-from products into all major retailers in Ireland. The fresh and bakery brands supplied include Genius, Livwell, Lovemore and the Sam Mills Pasta range, in addition to some private label ranges. We are committed to working closely with our retailers in providing ongoing solutions to the Irish consumers’ needs through innovative and value for money products. Please contact the group on 01 8340342 or visit www.cks.ie.

Lovemore Free-From Foods has created an exciting range of gluten, wheat and mostly dairy-free cookies, cakes, pies and tarts. All Lovemore products are manufactured with a long shelf life to help them stay fresher for longer, ensuring you never run out and are suitable for coeliacs, vegetarians and people with food allergies. The unique Lovemore range of treats are baked by Welsh Hills Bakery with love and care and over 50 years experience in baking. For over 10 years, Welsh Hills has been a dedicated gluten and wheat-free production facility selling produce internationally.

Lovemore products are sold in several countries including Ireland, Spain, US and Australia. At all times, Lovemore comply with the strict standards set by the industry operating the most stringent controls. The range, including Lovemore Chocolate Chip Cookies, O’Choco, Jammy Wheels, Choc Brownies and Lemon Cakes are now available in Ireland with more products set to launch into the Irish market later this year. Lovemore products are supplied by Castle King Services (CKS), contact www.cks.ie or 01-8340342 for more information.


Genius baking

The Genius Bread range continues to be some of the leading lines with their superior quality and taste, in the free-from category. This has also helped attract ‘lifestyle’ consumers due to the quality and fresh aspect of the breads. Genius’ aim is to deliver what current consumers are saying they want, whilst also attracting these new consumers. Genius say it will continue to invest heavily in research over 2013/2014 to help understand its consumers and shoppers better. The Genius team of dedicated food technologists and bakers use a highly strategic and innovative approach to research and development.

The Genius Original Brown Sliced Bread is a soft, fresh gluten-free loaf with a richly coloured crust, sprinkled with millet flakes. It has all the malt flavour and nutty texture of premium traditional granary bread.


The Genius Original White Sliced Bread is a gluten-free loaf with a lovely dark crust dusted with rice flour. It’s easy on your digestive system and it’s perfect for sandwiches, toasting and baking.


With the recent acquisition of the Livwell brand, Genius has shown its commitment to be a leader in both the fresh and ambient ranges within the free-from category. Whether you follow a gluten, wheat or dairy-free diet through choice or necessity, Livwell has a great range to offer you. Our team of bakers has crafted a tasty selection of tasty breads, cakes and morning goods suitable for all occasions. Livwell products are baked using the finest ingredients and are gluten, wheat and dairy-free. None of the products contain codex wheat and all contain less than 20ppm of gluten.

The Livwell range of products currently available in Ireland include Pitta Bread, Garlic & Coriander Naan Bread, Hot Cross Buns, Syrup Pancakes, Fruit Scones, Fruit Loaf, White Rolls, Seeded Rolls as well as the Sliced White and Sliced Seeded Breads. Genius Breads and the Livwell ranges are supplied to Irish retailers by Castle King Services (CKS). For more information, please contact us on 01 8340342 or on www.cks.ie


Plant power

Alpro, the pioneer of plant-based food and drink products for over 30 years, is outgrowing the Irish market with 6%* value increase year-on-year. Alpro saw great results in 2012 in the Irish market following the introduction of new products in the dairy alternative category including the Almond plant-based alternative to milk. In 2012, Alpro took plant-based eating beyond soya, introducing Almond, Hazelnut and Rice plant-based alternatives to milk. The nut drinks sector is proving popular with consumers as it has already grown to represent 4%* of the Irish plant-based market. This has benefited Alpro as it works to broaden its appeal.

The sale of chilled nut plant-based alternatives to milk in the Irish market only began in January 2012 and as consumers become increasingly concerned with eating healthily, the market can only continue to grow. In July, Alpro will introduce a chilled Almond Unsweetened, offering consumers the chance to use a plant-based alternative to milk that contains no added sugar, is free from saturated fat and only 26 calories per 200ml.


Retailers should capitalise on the growing trend for healthy drinks by stocking a range of soya and nut-based products. Another key area for retailers is soya plant-based alternatives to yogurts. Sales of Alpro soya alternatives to yogurts are up 27%* year-on-year and are the perfect compliment to a healthy breakfast. The Alpro Simply Plain and Vanilla are low in saturated fat and perfect poured on granola, cereal or fruit.

*(Source: Nielsen Scantrack 24 Feb 2013)

In the path of consumers

Nature’s Path had been looking for the right opportunity to enter the Irish marketplace, having spent three years establishing itself in England, Scotland and Wales as the undisputed category leader within free-from. It was the brand’s arrival in Tesco Ireland and the creation of an exciting partnership with Pallas Foods that really got things moving. Nature’s Path clearly positions itself as a breakfast cereal specialist fighting under an uncompromising ‘free-from needn’t mean taste free’ banner.

Nature’s Path aims to bring mainstream appeal to the free-from fixture by always aiming to be ‘best in class’ versus ‘best on fixture’. In addition, Nature’s Path has worked hard to dismantle a number of the old coeliac sterotypes, one of which is that all coeliacs are over 50, with the creation of a flourishing kids portfolio. Nature’s Path’s spokesman Ian Hills says the brand’s success is "as much to do with finest ingredient strategy and unrivalled appreciation of ancient grains as it is about the sheer depth of range." The company aligned with Coeliac Ireland earlier this year and a big push will be innovation, courtesy of Nature’s Path’s new Nice and Nobbly granolas that are baked to bring a little extra sophistication to a free-from shelf. For information, contact Pallas Foods on 069-20200 or NI 0845 399 0845.

Satisfying the crisp craving

The Little Crisp Company is a small, independent start-up company getting ready to launch its first product into the Irish market. An extensive research and development programme has just concluded yielding the result of ‘the perfect fat-free and free-from potato crisp.’ The crisp replicates each of the key indulgent characteristics associated with one of the nation’s favourite snacks while delivering none of the harmful ingredients. Find out more at www.thelittlecrispcompany.blogspot.ie.




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