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Gluten Avoidance is Outpacing Diagnosed Sensitivities


As many as 39 million U.S. adults are anticipating gluten-free "fixes" on the Thanksgiving table this year
New York , N.Y. - November 24, 2014 - Recently it's become nearly impossible to walk through a grocery store or look at a restaurant menu without seeing the words "gluten-free" emblazoned on every other package and page. In a world filled with fad-diets and both medically and self-imposed dietary restrictions, what do Americans think of this gluten-free phenomenon?
A majority of Americans tend to believe gluten avoidance is not a medical necessity, with nearly two-thirds (64%) agreeing most people who avoid gluten don't need to. In fact, they might be on to something with this suspicion, as just 3% of Americans report their household has someone who has been diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity/intolerance and only 1% has someone diagnosed with celiac disease. However, 26% state their household avoids/limits gluten in some capacity.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,205 U.S. adults surveyed online between October 15 and 20, 2014.
Not surprisingly, those who state their household avoids/limits gluten are more likely to have someone with a diagnosed gluten sensitivity or intolerance in the house, compared to those who make no effort to avoid gluten (11% vs. <1%). However, 39% of Americans who state their household avoids/limits gluten in some capacity do not have anyone in the house who feels any negative effects when consuming gluten.
"Undiagnosed" sensitivities are slightly more common, with 5% of households having someone who suspects they may have a sensitivity or intolerance. Another 13% say they or someone else in their household feel better when they avoid gluten, but don't believe they have an intolerance.
Conflicting Opinions on Availability of Alternatives
One-third (67%) of Americans agree they are glad there are more gluten-free products available today than there used to be. However, nearly nine-in-ten Americans (87%) agree food manufacturers are taking advantage of the gluten-free "trend" to overcharge consumers.
A Gluten-Free Thanksgiving?
Nearly 39 million Americans [1] , 16% of adults 18 and older, are expecting to see gluten-free substitutions at their Thanksgiving Day meals this year. Predictably, those in households who avoid/limit gluten are more likely to anticipate substitutes than those in households making no effort to do so (42% vs. 7%).
So what's on the gluten-free menu? Among those planning a "fix," gluten-free pies/desserts are the most common substitution (70%), followed closely by gluten-free stuffing (66%), rolls/bread (65%), and gravy (59%). Nearly half of respondents (48%) state they will make/purchase these substitutes themselves, followed by a family member in their household (34%).