The general rise in consumer health-consciousness, which has been bolstered by the experiences of the COVID-19 crisis – both because of concerns about the functioning of immune systems in the face of the disease and because of the impact of lockdowns on diets and physical exercise - continued to drive growing demand for free from packaged food products in 2021. Increasing numbers of consumers showed interest in these products even though they do not suffer from allergies or food intolerance, simply because they perceive them to be healthier than standard alternatives.
Rising interest in free from packaged food products, including gluten-free products, even amongst consumers who do not suffer with allergies or food intolerance has encouraged manufacturers to invest in product innovation. According to industry sources, there is a strong interest in gluten-free breakfast cereals, for example.
Supermarkets was the most significant distribution channel for free from packaged food in 2021, with both Migros Genossenschaftsbund and Coop Genossenschaft offering an extensive range of free from private label products for daily needs, which are well-appreciated by Swiss customers. Next came e-commerce, which has been a key channel for free from products for a long time.
The forecast period is expected to see levels of food intolerance and allergies rise. Manufacturers and modern grocery retailers are expected to develop a growing range of products targeting consumers with food allergies and intolerance, especially as many other consumers also perceive such products to be healthier than standard alternatives.
While demand for free from lactose and free from gluten products was previously limited to those people who were intolerant to lactose and gluten, their popularity is also expected to further increase amongst consumers who are unaffected by such intolerances. Rising concerns about lactose allergies are projected to contribute towards the ongoing success of free from dairy milk alternatives, such as soy-, almond-, and coconut-based options.
Free from meat is expected to be the fastest growing area of free from packaged food over the forecast period. A growing number of consumers are looking for alternative sources of protein as they turn to plant-based diets or at least cut down their meat intake in line with a global trend founded on concerns about the environment and animal welfare, as well as health.
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This category includes free from gluten, free from lactose, free from allergens, free from dairy and free from meat products. This excludes foods which are certified ‘free’ of a specific product when this is based on use of sterilised equipment.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Food Intolerance research and analysis database.
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