Shoppers are set to spend 20 per cent more stocking up on Free From foods this Christmas compared with last year according to UK supermarket chain Tesco, who say that one third of UK households now have at least one allergy or intolerance sufferer.
Shoppers are set to spend 20 per cent more stocking up on Free From foods this Christmas compared with last year.That’s the prediction from Tesco, the UK supermarket chain, whose research is said to show that one third of UK households now have at least one allergy or intolerance sufferer. The research also shows that more than 60% of households have bought Free From foods in the last year, with the number boosted by shoppers changing their diets because of a lifestyle choice.The increase has pushed the value of the UK’s Free From market to £462 million, according to retail analysts Kantar Worldpanel (August 2015).In September, this year, another retail analyst, Mintel, forecast that the UK’s Free From market will grow 50% by 2019.To meet the growing demand of customers Tesco says it will this Christmas offer its widest ever choice of Free From foods including a retail first, Free From profiteroles.The supermarket has also included gluten free stuffing with all its top of the range Finest stuffed turkey, duck and pork joints for the first time ever this year.“Free From has become a major part of our day to day food offering which is why we’ve worked on developing our range this year to make sure that there is plenty of choice for customers this Christma,” said Tesco food developer and coeliac Fiona Carter. “This year, customers will be able to buy everything they need for the whole of the festive season – from an advent calendar with dairy free chocolate to mince pies and cake and stuffed turkey, puddings and profiteroles.” “Gluten Free food is now so important to so many shoppers that for the first time ever we have dedicated the whole of one of our Christmas TV adverts to highlighting some of our range.”Free From foods have become appealing to not only those who are medically diagnosed as coeliacs, Tesco says, but also to customers interested in managing a lifestyle change.Nowadays, according to the supermarket chain, the quality of Free From foods has greatly improved over the last five years with many products tasting as good as their non-Free From equivalents.Recently Tesco has won a number awards for its Free From foods including its own label Sweet Party dessert selection; Strawberry and Vanilla Cones; and Italian Coffee Style Dessert.This increase in quality was highlighted at a customer taste test at Tesco’s Kensington Superstore when customers were asked to identify the difference between gluten free and non-gluten free Christmas fruit slices.Nearly 75% of customers preferred the taste of the Free From fruit slices believing them to be the regular Tesco product.Tesco says it was the first UK retailer to launch a Free From brand back in 2003 and is still leading the way by introducing new products for their customers. Since then it has grown its range to more than 350 Free From products and claims to sell more than 200 million Free From foods a year.