The term “gluten-free” may feel like one of the biggest nutritional buzzwords around, but it’s also an important dietary trend to understand. Our products here at Mercer Foods are naturally gluten-free, but we’re not the only ones. Read on and get the details surrounding the gluten-free market, and discover how you can get involved.

The gluten-free market

In the United States, sales of gluten-free food are projected to reach almost $24 billion by 2020. That’s a lot of gluten-free eaters! There’s also a huge incentive to make gluten-free products, as around 64 percent of Americans viewed gluten-free diets as healthy or somewhat healthy. With such a big market that’s continuing to grow, it’s obvious there are new products to be made and an audience eager to purchase them.

The industry isn’t focused on fad diets either. With the increased awareness of gluten-free options, people suffering from celiac disease have more food options and choices. Celiac disease is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder that’s historically been misdiagnosed. With wider awareness of the disease, celiacs are more likely to receive an accurate diagnosis — and more likely to change their diet accordingly.

Gluten-free at Mercer Foods

Fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free, which means most of our products are in the celiac-safe zone. You won’t find any gluten in the peas, berries, or bananas we freeze-dry, and we’re proud of that.

Our freeze-drying process doesn’t add sulfites to your produce — it just preserves it with all the nutrients in place. During sublimation, the ice in the freshly frozen food is converted directly into vapor, leaving the fruit or vegetables structurally intact. Lyophilization, the proper name for freeze-drying, uses time, heat, and pressure to make sublimation happen. After these controlled and delicate steps, all you have are naturally gluten-free, freeze-dried produce. No gluten in sight! Just think of what new gluten-free products you could make with a wide range of safely preserved, gluten-free ingredients!

Labeling and regulations

When diving into the gluten-free market, note that labeling is highly regulated. Put in place to protect the customers, these regulations ensure clear labeling, helping celiacs avoid products with unexpected gluten content.

A product can be labeled gluten-free if it passes one of the requirements below.

  • It is naturally gluten-free.
  • It can’t contain a gluten-containing grain.
  • It can’t contain a gluten-containing grain that has not been processed to remove gluten.
  • It can’t be derived from a gluten-containing grain that has been processed to remove gluten if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten in the food.
  • Any unavoidable presence of gluten in the food must be less than 20 ppm.

While these regulations may seem strict, if you start with naturally gluten-free ingredients, you’ve already passed the test. With a market growing this fast, joining the gluten-free food ranks is an easy decision, especially with a partner like Mercer Foods.

Gluten-free inspiration

Now that you know the benefits of creating gluten-free products, and the regulations have been covered, it’s time to get creative! There are so many ways to craft amazing gluten-free foods, and we’re here to help.

  • Make flavored beverage or drink powders gluten-free by basing them on ground-up, freeze-dried berries. The high nutritional content in berries also makes it appealing to those not adhering to a gluten-free diet.
  • Potatoes are a naturally gluten-free starch and are the perfect addition to hearty meals like stews! After freeze-drying, our potatoes are shelf stable, so they’re easy to add to existing product lines.
  • Soups and sauces are often full of hidden gluten. Offer options that are celiac-safe by basing them all on healthy vegetables like beets, carrots, corn, or sweet potatoes. A unique soup or sauce will also set you apart from the competition.
  • Add some fun color and flavor to existing gluten-free cupcake or muffin mixes with freeze-dried fruit.

With our naturally gluten-free produce, you can be confident about the ingredients used in your products. Your brand can appeal to the full gluten-free market with our help. For more information on our freeze-drying process, connect with us or get in touch via Facebook or LinkedIn.