The purchase of gluten-free products support not only those allergic to gluten but also serve a broader range of consumers who are looking to make specific lifestyle changes. Abe’s Vegan Muffins, West Nyack, N.Y. is a brand who is seeing gluten-free associated with the plant-based trend and the paleo lifestyle market. The company continues to see rapid evolutions in the category and predicts growth of gluten-free will continue at a fast pace, one that could necessitate expansion of the company’s gluten-free lineup.

In addition to its vegan offerings, Abe’s Vegan Muffins offers gluten-free coffee cake and its double chocolate muffins made with brown rice flour are best sellers for the company.

“Health and wellness issues have a strong influence within the bakery industry,” according to Kalyna DeAngelo, social media and marketing coordinator at Abe’s Vegan Muffins. “For some people, gluten has been shown to contribute to health conditions, and therefore there are more people continuing to make the switch.”

No longer the exception

As product formulation continues to evolve with bakers’ knowledge of the gluten-free space, there are great gluten-free items more readily available than ever before. Dawn Foods, Jackson, Mich., is another company witnessing gluten-free to be no longer a diet fad.

“Consumers are looking for a broader range of lifestyle choices and diets,” said Melissa Trimmer, certified executive pastry chef, culinary innovation operations and menu consultant, Dawn Foods Global. “They have higher expectations for products in these spaces to reach a wider range of dietary needs and they never want to sacrifice taste or texture. Gluten-free baked goods and mixes now must taste and perform just as well as other product offerings.”

Dawn Foods’ gluten-free line includes crème cakes and high-ratio cakes in chocolate and vanilla, which can be subbed into other cake recipes. The cakes are not just formulated to be good for gluten-free but to also be just as delicious and high-quality as the company’s baked goods. Some of its top-selling products in the supermarket segment include its gluten-free White and Dark Devil’s Food cake bases. The cake category is Dawn Foods’ largest gluten-free segment. The company also offers a variety of gluten-free selections globally, including cake, crème cake, brownie, cookie and cake bases.