Sorry for interrupting, this website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Learn more
Accept and close

Key points included

  • Half of parents want more free-from choice for kids
  • Strong demand for more free-from products for special occasions
  • Free-from products need other reasons to buy to win over non-users

Covered in this report

Estimated at £934 million in 2019, the UK free-from food and drink retail market has enjoyed stellar growth over the past five years, more than doubling in value, supported by a raft of factors. The dairy-/lactose-free segment continued to outpace gluten-/ wheat-free in 2019, with sales estimated to reach £517 million and £416 million respectively.


With the free-from trend now a firmly established phenomenon, growth is expected to slow. The dairy alternatives market, however, should benefit from the public focus on the environment, which looks set to endure. Meanwhile, consumer interest in freefrom products supporting digestive health and those catering for special occasions as well as indulgent variants points to NPD opportunities.

All reports purchased from the Mintel Store now come with free access to our COVID-19 Global Insights Hub, allowing you to understand how industries and consumer behaviour is changing worldwide.


What does the COVID-19 Global Insights Hub give you access to?

  • Over 450 pieces of research (with more published each week) addressing markets across the globe.
  • Discover how people in countries at different stages of the crisis are adjusting to the 'new normal'.
  • Trending industries which have seen growth due to the changes in circumstance.
  • Our latest consumer research surveys, allowing you to see customers views right now.

Looking for further research in this area?


Take a look at the following reports:

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Angharad Goode, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

With the free-from trend now a firmly established phenomenon, growth is expected to slow. The spotlight on sustainability should, however, support the demand for dairy alternatives. Products catering for special occasions and those for children hold potential for growing sales among established users Angharad Goode
Food & Drink Analyst

mintelcontainerpage
82285
1995.0000
593
2020-02-14T00:00:00+0000
7
581
619

What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Free-from growth continues in 2019, but expected to slow
              • Figure 1: UK retail value sales of free-from food and drink, 2014-24
            • High-profile reports link meat and dairy consumption to climate change
              • ‘Natasha’s Law’ tightens regulations around allergen labelling
                • Companies and brands
                  • Free-from claims continue to gain share in food launches
                    • Figure 2: Share of UK food* product launches with free-from claims, by claim, 2015-19
                  • Free-from launches build other benefits
                    • More dairy-free launches opt for vegan claims and spotlight sustainable sourcing
                      • Figure 3: Share of UK dairy launches carrying dairy-free and vegan/no animal ingredients claims, 2015-19
                    • Own-brands feature strongly in NPD in a fragmented free-from landscape
                      • Alpro holds the top spot for adspend
                        • The consumer
                          • Half of adults report food/ingredient avoidances in their household
                            • Figure 4: Avoidance of foods/ingredients, by reason, September 2019
                          • One in three adults have bought free-from food/drink
                            • Figure 5: Types of free-from food and drink used and bought, September 2019
                          • Half of parents want more free-from choice for kids
                            • Figure 6: Attitudes towards free-from foods, September 2019
                          • Co-location with standard variants welcomed widely
                            • Figure 7: Behaviours related to free-from foods, September 2019
                          • 67% of non-users say they don’t need free-from products
                            • Figure 8: Barriers to eating/drinking/buying free-from foods/drinks, September 2019
                          • What we think
                          • Issues and Insights

                            • Strong demand for more free-from products for special occasions
                              • The facts
                                • The implications
                                  • Half of parents want more free-from choice for kids
                                    • The facts
                                      • The implications
                                        • Free-from products need other reasons to buy to win over non-users
                                          • The facts
                                            • The implications
                                            • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                              • Free-from growth continues in 2019
                                                • Slower growth forecast for the market
                                                  • High-profile reports link meat and dairy consumption to climate change
                                                    • ‘Natasha’s Law’ tightens regulations around allergen labelling
                                                    • Market Size and Forecast

                                                      • Free-from growth continues in 2019
                                                        • Dairy-/lactose-free segment continues to gain share
                                                          • Figure 9: UK retail value sales of free-from food and drink, by segment, 2017-19
                                                        • Free-from growth set to slow
                                                          • Figure 10: UK retail value sales of free-from food and drink, 2014-24
                                                          • Figure 11: UK retail value sales of free-from food and drink, 2014-24
                                                        • Forecast methodology
                                                        • Market Drivers

                                                          • ‘Natasha’s Law’ tightens regulations around allergen labelling
                                                            • UN IPCC report links meat and dairy consumption to climate change
                                                              • Three in 10 people see dairy alternatives as the greener choice
                                                                • New study finds no gut health benefit for gluten-free lifestylers
                                                                  • Households see boost to real incomes
                                                                    • Figure 12: CPI vs average weekly earnings, January 2016-October 2019
                                                                  • Free-from products face the challenge to engage older cohorts
                                                                    • Figure 13: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2014-19 and 2019-24
                                                                • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                  • Free-from claims continue to gain share in food launches
                                                                    • Free-from launches build other benefits
                                                                      • More dairy-free launches opt for vegan claims and spotlight sustainable sourcing
                                                                        • Own-brands feature strongly in NPD in a fragmented free-from landscape
                                                                          • Alpro holds the top spot for adspend
                                                                          • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                            • Free-from claims continue to gain share in food launches
                                                                              • Figure 14: Percentage of food* product launches with free-from claims, by claim, 2015-19
                                                                            • Gluten-free claims feature on half of snack/cereal/energy bar launches
                                                                              • Figure 15: Share of product launches in the UK breakfast cereals, bakery, sweet baked goods and snack/cereal/energy bar markets carrying a gluten-free claim, by sub-category (sorted by 2019), 2015-19
                                                                            • Greater diversity in chickpea products
                                                                              • Figure 16: Examples of new chickpea-based products, 2019
                                                                            • Gluten-free launches build other benefits
                                                                              • Figure 17: UK breakfast cereals, bakery, sweet baked goods and snack/cereal/energy bar launches carrying a gluten-free claim, by selected health claims (sorted by 2019), 2015-19
                                                                              • Figure 18: Examples of granolas with added functional claims or on-trend ingredients, 2019
                                                                            • Premium launches cater to seasonal occasions
                                                                              • Figure 19: Range of festive free-from foods, 2019
                                                                            • More dairy-free launches opt for vegan claims
                                                                              • Figure 20: UK dairy launches carrying dairy-free and vegan/no-animal-ingredients claims, 2015-19
                                                                              • Figure 21: Examples of products focusing on plant-based or vegan positioning over dairy-free, 2019
                                                                            • Brands highlight sustainable sourcing of plant ingredients
                                                                              • Figure 22: Share of launches of dairy-free/vegan/no-animal-ingredients launches in the dairy category featuring an environmentally responsible resource claim, 2015-19
                                                                              • Figure 23: Examples of dairy alternatives highlighting sustainable ingredients, 2019
                                                                            • Calcium and protein claims grow in dairy-free launches
                                                                              • Figure 24: Share of launches of dairy-free/vegan/no-animal-ingredients launches in the dairy category featuring selected health claims, 2015-19
                                                                              • Figure 25: Alpro packaging revamp, 2019
                                                                            • Pea drinks join the dairy-free fray
                                                                              • Figure 26: Examples of pea/pea protein milk alternatives introduced to market, 2019
                                                                            • Own-brands feature strongly in NPD in a fragmented free-from landscape
                                                                              • Figure 27: Launches in the UK breakfast cereals, bakery, sweet baked goods and snack/cereal/energy bar markets carrying a gluten-free claim, by top ultimate companies (sorted by 2019), 2015-19
                                                                              • Figure 28: Launches in the dairy category featuring dairy-free/vegan/no-animal-ingredients claims, by top ultimate companies (sorted by 2019), 2015-19
                                                                            • Retailers repackage lines
                                                                              • Waitrose repackages free-from range to more premium look…
                                                                                • Figure 29: Waitrose revamps its free-from packaging, 2019
                                                                              • …as does Marks & Spencer
                                                                                • Figure 30: Marks & Spencer updates the packaging for the Made Without Wheat range, 2019
                                                                              • Free-from launches from mainstream player and range extensions from specialists continue
                                                                                • Figure 31: Free-from launches from selected mainstream brands, 2019
                                                                            • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                              • Free-from market sees adspend growth
                                                                                • Figure 32: Above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure in the UK free-from food and drink market, by media type, 2016-19
                                                                              • Alpro holds the top spot
                                                                                • Figure 33: Above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure by top companies operating in the UK free-from food and drink market, 2019
                                                                              • Arla focuses on ‘what feels good’
                                                                                • Viotros makes going dairy-free a little too easy
                                                                                  • Innocent promotes dairy-free range using humour...
                                                                                    • …and drives outdoor spend
                                                                                      • Mrs Crimble’s teams up with Topless Baker for a social media push
                                                                                        • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                          • Half of adults report food/ingredient avoidances in their household
                                                                                            • One in three adults have bought free-from food/drink
                                                                                              • Half of parents want more free-from choice for kids
                                                                                                • Co-location with standard variants welcomed widely
                                                                                                  • Interest in free-from foods with digestive health benefits
                                                                                                    • 67% of non-users say they don’t need free-from products
                                                                                                    • Avoidance of Food/Ingredients

                                                                                                      • Healthy lifestyles are a stronger driver of food/drink avoidance than allergies/intolerances
                                                                                                        • Half of adults report food/ingredient avoidances in their household
                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Overall avoidance of foods/ingredients in the household, by reason, September 2019
                                                                                                        • Healthy lifestyles are a key driver behind avoidance diets
                                                                                                          • Gluten and dairy avoidance are widely seen as good for gut
                                                                                                            • A quarter of people report dairy avoidance in their household
                                                                                                              • Figure 35: Avoidance of foods/ingredients in the household, by type, September 2019
                                                                                                          • Types of Free-from Products Bought/Eaten

                                                                                                            • One in three adults have bought free-from food/drink
                                                                                                              • Figure 36: Overall buying and usage of free-from food and drink, September 2019
                                                                                                              • Figure 37: Types of free-from food and drink used and bought, September 2019
                                                                                                            • Free-from foods’ appeal spans beyond avoidance diets
                                                                                                              • Families and young adults are key buyers and users of free-from
                                                                                                                • Half of parents have bought free-from
                                                                                                                  • Half of 16-34s report eating free-from
                                                                                                                  • Attitudes towards Free-from Foods

                                                                                                                    • Half of parents want more free-from choice for kids
                                                                                                                      • Figure 38: Attitudes towards free-from foods, September 2019
                                                                                                                    • Allergen claims are common in children’s products, but kids’ positioning is rare in free-from
                                                                                                                      • Catering to the social aspect
                                                                                                                        • Desire for indulgent, tasty free-from food and drink
                                                                                                                          • Most free-from buyers see tasty treats as hard to find
                                                                                                                            • Indulgent brands have moved into free-from
                                                                                                                              • Figure 39: Examples of premium free-from treat launches, 2019
                                                                                                                            • Free-from is in demand for special occasions
                                                                                                                              • Figure 40: Examples of seasonal free-from launches, 2019
                                                                                                                          • Behaviours Related to Free-from Foods

                                                                                                                            • Co-location with standard variants welcomed widely
                                                                                                                              • Visibility prompts product trial
                                                                                                                                • Figure 41: Behaviours related to free-from foods, September 2019
                                                                                                                              • Strong approval for discounters’ private-label free-from
                                                                                                                                • Widespread concerns about allergen standards in foodservice
                                                                                                                                  • Interest in free-from foods with digestive health benefits
                                                                                                                                    • Fibre, calcium and live bacteria hold potential
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 42: Examples of free-from launches with fibre and live bacteria claims, 2019
                                                                                                                                  • Barriers to Eating/Drinking/Buying Free-from Food/Drinks

                                                                                                                                    • 67% of non-users say they don’t need free-from products
                                                                                                                                      • Many products continue to zoom in on free-from positioning
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 43: Barriers to eating/drinking/buying free-from foods/drinks, September 2019
                                                                                                                                      • Other reasons to buy can range from taste to health
                                                                                                                                        • Three in 10 people see dairy alternatives as greener
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 44: Examples of dairy substitutes with environmental claims and ingredient origin focus, 2019
                                                                                                                                        • 22% of non-users see free-from as too expensive
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 45: Being expensive as a barrier to eating/drinking/buying free-from foods/drinks, by financial situation, September 2019
                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                          • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                            • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                              • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Forecast of UK retail value sales of free-from food and drink, best- and worst-case, 2019-24

                                                                                                                                              This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.

                                                                                                                                              • Market

                                                                                                                                                Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.

                                                                                                                                              • Consumer

                                                                                                                                                Mintel's proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.

                                                                                                                                              • Brand/Company

                                                                                                                                                Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.

                                                                                                                                              • Data

                                                                                                                                                Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

                                                                                                                                              Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

                                                                                                                                              Description