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The value of gluten-free attributes in snack foods

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Celiac Disease (CD) is now widespread as one in 133 people are currently diagnosed, while there were only one in 150 in 2006. Much of the research concerning CD is still in the early stages, as formal epidemiological studies

Celiac Disease (CD) is now widespread as one in 133 people are currently diagnosed, while there were only one in 150 in 2006. Much of the research concerning CD is still in the early stages, as formal epidemiological studies are relatively recent. CD is aggravated by the consumption of gluten, which is found mainly in wheat, rye, oats, and barley. Not surprisingly, the rising prevalence of CD has created a significant business opportunity for food manufacturers in developing products that are tailored to CD sufferers. While the entire Gluten-Free (GF) industry has been experiencing double digit growth rates, the expansion in available snack foods has outstripped all others. Observation of GF snack food prices suggests that food manufacturers are responding to high retail prices associated with GF foods. However, GF foods are often also advertised with other attributes that generally sell for a premium over conventional foods. Therefore, whether the high retail price for GF snack foods can be attributed specifically to the GF attribute is an empirical question. The objective of this research is to determine whether there is a retail-price premium for GF snack foods and, if there is, to estimate its magnitude. A hedonic pricing model is used to answer this question. Specifically, a hedonic pricing model was applied to a unique dataset of snack food products in order to estimate the marginal value for the GF attribute, while controlling for a number of other important attributes. Results show that the GF attribute is both economically and statistically significant, implying a premium of nearly $1.86 above gluten-containing products. Production costs for smaller manufacturers can be two to three times higher for GF foods relative to non-GF foods, but this still implies an excess premium of over $0.50 (assuming 40% margins). However, high premiums may not last as large retailers are utilizing their influence over suppliers to keep retail margins low. Therefore, the primary implication of the research is that the rapid growth in recent years can easily be explained on economic grounds for large agribusinesses, as this implies a major profit opportunity.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2010

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Glycemic Response to Gluten-Free Bread in Healthy Adults

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Background: Research has found that nearly a quarter of the American population follows a gluten-free diet in some capacity, while only about 1% of the population is diagnosed with celiac disease. Although the amount of research-based evidence supporting any health

Background: Research has found that nearly a quarter of the American population follows a gluten-free diet in some capacity, while only about 1% of the population is diagnosed with celiac disease. Although the amount of research-based evidence supporting any health benefits of a gluten-free diet in an individual without a gluten- related disorder is limited, the number of people claiming to follow a gluten-free diet continues to rise. Also, despite an increasing belief that gluten is harmful for health, the potentially undesirable effects of gluten substitutions used in gluten-free foods are largely unknown. Due to the protein network encapsulating starch granules, gluten is thought to lengthen the amount of time needed during starch digestion, thereby reducing postprandial glycemia. Therefore, it is predicted that breads containing gluten will produce a lower glycemic response compared to gluten-free breads. Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the glycemic response of gluten-free bread made with different types of flour compared to bread made with gluten-containing wheat flour. Methods: This study involved a 3-week, randomized, single blind crossover study in which 17 healthy individuals were asked to consume a different type of bread each week, 2 of which were gluten-free. Blood glucose was taken by finger prick at fasting as a baseline measurement, then for 2 hours after bread consumption in 30-minute increments. Results: Across the three groups, there was no significant difference in iAUC values after 120 minutes (p=0.192 ). The greatest mean was seen in the gluten-containing bread (145.3 ± 82.6), then the gluten-free bread made with rice flour (125.5 ± 62.8), and lastly the gluten-free bread made with potato and fava bean flour (112.4 ± 64.5). Conclusion: The inconsistent results of this study compared to previous, similar studies suggests that the postprandial glycemic response of gluten-free products can not be generalized as a whole, but instead is dependent on the type of product and the ingredients used to replace the gluten. Although the results did not show a significant difference, it does argue against the belief that gluten-free products are invariably better for health in the general, non-gluten sensitive population.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2019