Asian consumers are more likely to find gluten-free labels appealing when perusing supermarket aisles than the global average. This is evident in the results from GlobalData’s 2017 Q1 global consumer survey, which shows that 64% of Asian consumers typically buy products with gluten-free claims, well above the global average of 49%.

While the gluten-free trend has been considered a Western craze, it is clear Asian consumers are following the trend. They tend to attribute healthy benefits to gluten-free products. For example, these products promise to alleviate digestive problems or bloating effects often associated with gluten consumption.

Despite there being no scientific evidence, consumers have a positive health perception of products carrying such labels, making them more likely to purchase.

The most common reason for buying gluten-free food and drink was because Asian consumers (nearly 40%) believe products labelled as gluten-free are healthier for them. This figure is higher than in Europe, where the trend is at a mature stage. This suggests that the tendency is gaining ground in Asia and there is room to innovate in the region, especially in those categories directly handling gluten such as bakery, cereals, and snack products.

Those with gluten intolerance are no longer the sole target for manufacturers, and brands should exploit the opportunity to capitalise on the craze in Asia to meet consumers’ perceptions about the health credentials of gluten-free items.

 “Why do you generally purchase food/drink products with gluten-free claims?” (2017)

Source: GlobalData’s 2017 Q1 global consumer survey