Those with an established preference for gluten-free food aren’t particularly surprised by the fact the gluten-free food industry has exploded in recent years. For us, it was only a matter of time before the rest of the world caught on to the benefits of a gluten-free lifestyle.
However, as the ongoing quests to get people to embrace fat-free and sugar-free foods demonstrate, the process is never simple. The average consumer associates “ -free” as being flavor-free, unless they are motivated enough to make the purchase and see for themselves how this isn’t true.
With this in mind, it’s got to be said that marketing has played a major role in making the gluten-free lifestyle a part of mainstream culture. Just consider the following:
Edibles are often bought on impulse. While everyone knows we’re not supposed to grocery shop on an empty stomach, most people wind up famished by the time they get to the supermarket. This puts pressure on makers of gluten-free baked goods to present their products effectively. They’ve managed to do so through the use of colorful and eye-catching foam board poster printing point-of-purchase displays. Ideally, the display design draws the shopper’s eyes towards carefully positioned packages of gluten-free products.
Whether it’s bagels or beans, the imagery of the product in its ready to eat form – with gluten-free spread on top or placed beside corn, greens, and baked chicken respectively – goes a long way in getting a person to go from potential consumer to confirmed buyer. It’s therefore no surprise this kind of imagery is common on the consumer-facing portions of point-of-purchase displays.
Another way in which the popularity of gluten-free food has been aided by great marketing has been the utilization of seemingly miracle recipes. The food and beverage chain Dunkin Donuts made headlines recently by unveiling their new gluten-free fudge brownie treat. Who knew such a thing were possible?
As anyone with even the slightest exposure to gluten-free living knows, fudge brownies are a standard go-to treat when avoiding gluten. And yet, the general public is not aware of this seemingly basic fact. The lack of common knowledge regarding gluten-free food is seized by savvy marketers to great effect.
Lastly, the way marketing has helped make gluten-free eating a mainstream lifestyle choice is by bringing attention to just how much food we love is naturally gluten-free. Whether it’s rice, oatmeal, cheese, and yes, even ice cream, the list of gluten-free foods is endless.
In some ways, the success of marketing gluten-free foods has been a curse as much as it’s been a blessing. Notice how fudge brownies and ice cream have been mentioned as being gluten-free. Simply put, just because a food is gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s healthy. This doesn’t stop marketers from making it appear as though gluten-free is the one and only path to healthy eating.
Ultimately, as seasoned gluten avoiders know, the key to a successful diet is to still stick to healthy and wholesome food options which lie underneath the gluten-free umbrella. But when it comes to the growing awareness of the fact that being gluten-free is not an abandoning of flavor but quite the contrary, it’s safe to say much of the credit is owed to the marketing efforts put forth on behalf of gluten-free foods.