Free-from – Who’s driving this key trend?

8th December 2017

Free-from – “denoting or relating to food products that do not contain ingredients known to cause a reaction in people with food allergies or intolerances.”  

The free-from trend has exploded in recent years with Mintel predicting it to be worth £674 million by 2020! In just 5 years the market has increased by 72% and it’s still growing.

But who is driving the growth in free-from?

It would be logical to assume that food-allergic people were responsible for the growth in free-from products but recent studies are suggesting otherwise.

9/10 free-from purchases are made by someone without a diagnosed allergy or intolerance. Meaning only 1 in 10 purchases are made by a food allergy sufferer. If it isn’t food allergies driving the boom then who is?

People dining, food hospitality

Millenials. This group of 16-34-year-olds seem to be the most receptive to free-from with 30% believing that free-from foods have health benefits to benefit everyone and 31% willing to pay more for free-from products.

Millenials are often stereotyped as ‘fad driven’ and are heavily influenced by the media and the technology that they’ve grown up with. As celebrities and influencers increasingly turn to free-from as a shortcut to health and diets such as paleo, vegan and clean eating continue to grow millennials are taking the bait and fueling the free-from surge. Despite consciously shunning sugar and looking for free-from foods millennials are still the least likely to call their diets healthy. As technology brings an influx of information and with new diets and superfoods emerging each week it seems as though millennials have become more critical of themselves amongst the swathes of ever-changing fact and figures.

What about continual growth?

The next generation emerging into the free-from market are ‘generation Z, born 2002+. Generation Z has been labelled the ‘cotton wool generation’ with 8% having a genuine food allergy and 1/55 having a diagnosed peanut allergy. Even more influenced by the media than millennials it appears that the age of the influencer is growing and as long as free-from diets and clean eating remain in the media then the trend shall continue to grow. Despite most of this category still being children 37% have claimed an interest in paying more for gluten-free products making them a huge market as future consumers.

To find out what Kafoodle can do to help you stand out from the crowd in the expanding free-from market contact Annie on 07546 626 406 or email


Stats taken from:
Happen Innovation Consulatancy 


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