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Gluten-free Products Still at Nascent Stage of Growth in India
Global Market Scenario
-The global market for gluten-free product was about $xx billion in 2012, and this market is projected to reach $xx billion at a CAGR of xx% by 2018. North America was the largest market accounting nearly xx% of the market share in 2012. Europe is expected to show significant growth in the market in the near future. The United Kingdom was the largest European gluten-free market in 2012. The bakery and confectionery market is expected to be the fastest growing one in Europe, followed by North America. Australia in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region and Brazil in the Rest-of-World (ROW) region are the largest markets expected to grow further by 2018.
-In the North American and European market, gluten-free products are increasingly being offered at grocery stores. With the trend of offering exhaustive product variants, supermarkets and mass retailers are focusing more on the free-from products. This particular phenomena has decreased the sales share by health and natural food stores for gluten-free products.
A number of gluten-free products are available in the market such as:
oBakery and confectionery
oBaking mixes and flour
oMeat and poultry products
oOther foods (sauces, dressings, beverages, dairy products)
Market Snapshot Top Trends in Gluten-free Market in India
-As opposed to in the United States and Europe, the usage of gluten-free products in India is primarily after a person is diagnosed with celiac disease. The awareness about celiac disease and importance of gluten-free products is very low.
-Market is geographically skewed. As the cases of celiac disease is more in the northern part of the country, the demand for gluten-free products majorly comes from this region as wheat is a prevalent cereal in North India; rice-based foods contribute for most of the South Indian food consumption.
-Suppliers in the gluten-free products are typically small and medium-sized companies with their overall product portfolio majorly focused in the gluten-free products and similar health products. Most of these suppliers have their manufacturing and marketing base in Punjab and Delhi region. Imported products from Europe and US also have good penetration in the gluten-free segment.
-Bakery and confectionery products are the most prevalent gluten-free products in Indian market. Staple food and other ready to eat food products are also gaining traction in the market.
-Food giants such as Nestle, Hershey’s, and ITC are yet to introduce gluten-free products in the Indian market. This is due to low demand, which may not be commercially viable for the big participants. However, most of the global food giants have gluten-free products in their products offering in the United States and Europe.
-Gluten-free products are sold majorly through health stores. However, in some cities of Punjab and areas in Delhi, this product is finding its way through retail stores as well.
An Insight into Celiac Disease—Definition and Symptoms
Celiac disease is associated with an allergic reaction within the inner lining of the small intestine. It is an immunological allergy to gluten, a kind of protein present in wheat, rye, barley and, up to some extent, in oats. The linings of the small intestine are destroyed by inflammations caused by the immunological reaction with gluten. This destruction of inner linings reduces the absorption of the dietary nutrients and leads to nutritional, vitamins, and minerals deficiencies. Celiac disease is common in European countries, particularly in Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and Austria. Symptoms Gluten ingestion causes gastrointestinal disorders in celiac, intolerant, and allergic patients. It can be both genetic as well as inherited.
-Infants and children—Tend to have digestive problems. Children may also show signs of malnourishment. That is because the disease prevents the body from absorbing essential nutrients. The stomach may expand, while the thighs become thin and the buttocks flat.
-Teens—Symptoms may not occur until they are triggered by something stressful such as suffering an injury or illness and pregnancy. Common symptoms include delayed puberty, growth problems, and diarrhea.
-Adults—Body loses the ability to absorb sufficient calcium essential to keep the bones strong, leading to osteoporosis. Anemia or low red blood cell count may also follow due to iron deficiency. This can lead to infertility and miscarriages as well.
-Small intestinal biopsy—Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is considered the most accurate test for celiac disease. Small intestinal biopsies can be obtained by performing an EGD. During an EGD, a long, flexible viewing endoscope is inserted into the duodenum through the mouth. A long, flexible biopsy instrument is then passed through a small channel in the endoscope to obtain samples of the intestinal lining of the duodenum. Usually, multiple samples are obtained to increase the accuracy of the diagnosis. The biopsies are then examined under a microscope for the loss of villi and other characteristics of celiac disease such as increased numbers of lymphocytes.
-Test for antibodies—There are xx different blood tests that can be done for celiac diagnosis.
oAntigliadin antibodies (AGA)-IgA
o Anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTG)-IgA
o Anti-endomysial antibodies (EMA)-IgA
o Total serum IgA Treatment There is no cure reported for celiac disease.
Celiac disease can only be controlled by gluten-free diet. In celiac disease, tolerance to gluten varies from patient to patient. Some patients can ingest small amounts of gluten without developing symptoms, while others experience intense diarrhea with only miniscule amounts of gluten. The standard treatment calls for complete avoidance of gluten throughout the life. In children with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet not only subsides diarrhea and abdominal discomfort but also improves their behavior and resumes growth (with rapid catch up in height).
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