Gluten-free and other “free from” foods: Italian passion

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Italians love gluten-free, lactose-free and other“free from” foods. In the first half of 2016, the entire “without” food sector had sales of nearly €2 billion, marking a 5.7 percent increase compared to the same period in 2015. A sign of a constant search for foods suitable for a healthy diet compatible with food allergies and intolerances.

According to the Coop report, the ranking of the best-selling foods in this category opens with “fat-free” or “light” (+1.6 percent, with a total value of €1,150 mln in the entire large-scale retail trade, Gdo). This is followed by “lactose-free” (+20.3 percent, €379 mln) and “gluten-free” foods (+20.6 percent, €159 mln billed) branded with the AIC association’s crossed out ear of corn, and specifically dedicated to celiacs, but increasingly sought after by consumers without a celiac diagnosis convinced that it is beneficial to avoid gluten.

“GMO-free” and other “free-from” foods also did well: with sales of €247 mln marking a 0.3 percent increase. Slightly decreasing are only “without salt” (-2.8%), which still account for a slice of purchases amounting to 61 mln €.

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