Saudi Arabia sees rising demand for gluten-free food

Saudi Arabia sees rising demand for gluten-free food
Saudi Arabia accounting for 45 percent of gluten-free food market in the Gulf region. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 27 March 2021

Saudi Arabia sees rising demand for gluten-free food

Saudi Arabia sees rising demand for gluten-free food
  • Gluten-free food market in the region is projected to grow more than 9 percent per annum until 2025

RiYADH: The gluten-free food market in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries was worth about $140 million in 2019, with Saudi Arabia accounting for 45 percent of the total, according to a recent study by market research and consulting company TechSci.

Gluten is a protein found in many grains, including wheat, barley and rye. It is common in bakery products, baby food, pasta and ready-meal products. 

Gluten has no essential nutrients and causes harmful conditions such as celiac disease and gluten intolerance. As a result, there has been increased growth in gluten-free food products in the GCC market.

According to the TechSci report, the gluten-free food market in the region is projected to grow more than 9 percent per annum until 2025. The study found that pasta and ready meals held the majority of the market share, at about 57 percent.

In Saudi Arabia, about 0.64 percent of the population suffers from issues related to celiac disease, which is mainly caused by the consumption of gluten. People are becoming more aware of the disease, creating higher demand for gluten-free food products.

Shehim Muhammed, director, LuLu Hypermarket, Saudi Arabia, told Arab News: “The gluten-free category had major sales for Lulu in the specialty category in the year 2020. We have grown around 40 percent on the same in the year 2020. Especially in the bakery category and grocery we are seeing more acceptance from customers.”

“In the year 2021 we are expecting more variety products in this category and 20 percent growth is expected in 2021,” he added.