Frequently Asked Questions
Why is gluten-free food so expensive?
The price of a product depends on its supply and demand. The market for gluten-free diet products, in comparison to “normal” grain products containing gluten which are produced for the wider population, is small. Yet, the higher price for these products primarily comes from the complex form of production. The Codex alimentarius commission set a new threshold value for gluten-free food in 2008. This was in part to research done by the Canadian Celiac Association to help develop standards. Such products may accordingly contain a maximum of 20ppm (20ppm= 20mg/kg, ppm = parts per million). These statutory gluten threshold values require extremely strict monitoring and special precautionary measures for delivery, production and packaging of the food items. However, only such strict quality assurance systems guarantee high product safety. Raw materials and manufactured products are continuously subject to inspection and are examined with regard to their gluten content and other allergens. The production of qualitatively high-class and reliably gluten-free food is fully automated and uses the most modern technology. Rice and also maize, raw materials that are mainly used in gluten-free food instead of wheat, are in addition more expensive than wheat.
Response provided by our food partner Dr. Schaer.
Why are we seeing a shortage of gluten free food on shelves right now?
92% of gluten-free shoppers quizzed by The Canadian Celiac Association said they had seen a reduction in the number of gluten-free foods available in the past six months. 97% of respondents said they have seen price increases on gluten-free products.
The Canadian Celiac Association Executive Director, Melissa Secord, says “grocery stores need to ensure they keep prioritizing gluten-free products and aisle space for what is a sustainably growing marketing. To not do so would not only risk missing out on this category of business, but could compromise the health of these customers.”
We reached out to our food partners for more information on current product shortages and delays. “Like many companies we are facing supply chain/ingredients issues. Ingredients we’ve relied on for years are suddenly either out of stock/discontinued which means we have to reformulate recipes. These changes have cascading effects on labelling. If we change ingredients, this leads to costly new packaging. Freight costs have also skyrocketed so that affects our distribution networks. We assume they will return to normal soon. It’s a time for pivoting, creativity and a ‘keep calm’ and carry on attitude that has served us well over 30 years. We will continue to bring you safe and scrumptious products. To ensure you don’t go without, perhaps stock up on a few extra items so there’s always a box in the pantry or freezer. ” – Marina Michaelides, Kinnikinnick Gluten Free.
Key issues facing food manufacturers right now include:
- food supply chain issues
- climate change
- adverse weather effects
- labour force challenges
- high inflation
- food transportation
Food manufacturers are also grappling with the cost of sanitation and personal protective equipment (PPE), high transportation costs and reduced maritime transport capacity. There are decreased efficiencies and disruptions due to closures. Many suppliers have notified us that they expect to see product shortages and shipping delays get back on track in October.
The Canadian Celiac Association will keep the community updated on new developments around this issue.
The Gluten-Free Food Market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.3% from 2022-2029, to reach a value of 10.96 Billion USD.