May is Celiac Awareness Month: 43 per cent of Canadians have a connection to gluten free
TORONTO, May 5, 2014 /CNW/ - Gluten free is here to stay, according to two-thirds of Canadians (67 per cent). A new Canadians Attitudes to Gluten Free survey by Udi's Healthy Foods – coinciding with Celiac Awareness Month – reveals 12 per cent of Canadians are gluten free or reducing gluten, 17 per cent have purchased gluten free products in the last six months, and 43 per cent report having a connection to gluten free either through themselves or friends and family.
The Celiac Awareness Association of Canada describes celiac disease as a serious medical condition in which the small intestine is damaged by a substance called gluten.
In addition to the millions of Canadians who are gluten free themselves, 27 per cent have friends and family who are gluten free. Nearly a third (31 per cent) would learn how to cook gluten free dishes to support a friend. Yet 65 per cent of Canadians are not confident identifying products that contain gluten, and nearly a quarter (23 per cent) don't realize bread typically contains gluten.
"Gluten is a protein in wheat, rye and barley, and is prevalent in common foods ranging from bread and beer to soy sauce and licorice," says Kathy Smart, an award-winning health expert, cookbook author and diagnosed celiac. "Gluten is dire for those diagnosed celiac but for countless others, reducing or eliminating gluten is making them feel better about their health."
The Udi's survey reveals that people who say they go gluten free report doing so for health (43 per cent) and because it makes them feel better (42 per cent). Other reasons include gluten intolerance (13 per cent), supporting a family member (10 per cent) and celiac disease (5 per cent). Respondents who have chosen a gluten free lifestyle report improved weight, physical fitness, activity level and diet. These consumers also spend more time cooking with their spouses and children, talking about the importance of a healthy diet, exercising and having fun with friends.
"So many Canadians have been 'touched' by gluten free, whether through their own lifestyle, or the choices of friends and family," adds Smart. "But despite the popularity of gluten free, more education is needed to help people understand the many sources of gluten in their daily food options and the variety of tasty alternatives available to them."
Bread is identified as the most important baked good for over three-quarters of Canadian families (77 per cent) followed by cookies (46 per cent) and holiday treats (42 per cent). Those choosing to eat gluten free report an increasing availability of gluten free product alternatives (76 per cent) and tastier gluten free choices (69 per cent).
"Canadians love their bread and we're working hard to deliver the best tasting gluten free options, including the famous Canadian baguette," says Denise Sirovatka, VP of Marketing at Udi's. "Gluten free pizza crusts, and sweet treats like cookies and brownies are also popular items among Canada's gluten free consumers."
- Fewer than half (41 per cent) of gluten free or reduced gluten Canadians enjoy eating in restaurants.
- In the last six months, 17 per cent of respondents – representing approximately five million Canadians – purchased gluten free products. This figure is highest in BC, at 23 per cent.
- The most popular gluten free brands amongst people who are gluten free are Glutino, Udi's and Kinnikinnick.
- Only six per cent of Canadians are aware of the gluten free tax credit.
- Canadians aged 18 – 34 are most likely to go gluten free.
Recipes & photos
Media are welcome to publish the following recipes, which were created by Kathy Smart*:
*High resolution recipe photos are available upon request.
For more information:
From April 1st to April 4th, 2014, an online survey was conducted among a sample of 3024 Canadian adults age 18+ who are also Angus Reid Forum panel members. The margin of error — which measures sampling variability — is +/-1.78%, 19 times out of 20. The sample was balanced by age, gender, region and education (and in Quebec language) according to the most recent census data. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
SOURCE: Udi's Healthy Foods LLC
For further information: Media contact: Katherine Heydon, FleishmanHillard, Katherine.Heydon@fleishman.ca, 416-645-3665