A new study has found nearly 40% of coeliac sufferers are critical of gluten-free bread and mixes currently on the market.

The survey by Coeliac UK, on behalf of bakery ingredients producer Bakels, questioned 1,000 people about their condition and which foods they missed the most. It found that people with coeliac disease in Britain missed bread and cake more than any other food groups.

According to Mintel, the gluten-free market in the UK was worth £184m in 2014, up 15% from th year before, and it has predicted the total ‘free-from’ market will reach £551m by 2019.

The Coeliac UK study found that:

    • More than eight out of ten (81%) people said they and their families missed the taste of fresh bread
    • More than half (51%) said they missed cake
    • Respondents were critical of the gluten free breads and bread mix mixes currently available with almost 40% saying they ‘didn’t taste like the bread I used to love’.
    • Cereals (42%), sauces (35%) and crackers (30%) were well behind in terms of food groups that people with coeliac disease say they miss.

Greg Woodhead, product development manager of Bakels, said: “This research shows that gluten-free is an incredible market opportunity for the UK baking industry. It is a large and growing market with at least 10%of the UK public either gluten intolerant or trying to cut back on their gluten intake.”

Woodhead added: “The clear message from the research is that people with coeliac disease want to eat more bread – both in the home and out of it – but that the quality of gluten-free breads and mixes are just not up to scratch.

“Time after time they complained about the quality, the price, the inability to use gluten-free breads in sandwiches and the fact that ‘they don’t taste like real bread’. Four out of five said they would be happy to use a bread mix if it ‘promised to be light and moist just like the traditional baked loaf’.”

Bakels launched a range of gluten-free mixes last year that can be bought direct by the consumer via some supermarkets and Amazon. The technology has also been made available to the retail baker through a range of consumer of gluten-free bread mixes. The range includes Multiseed, Artisan and White bread.

Bakels is also offering merchandising and great point of sale support along with a consumer website giving ideas on using the range.

Woodhead added: “We have brought all our years of experience as a bakery ingredients manufacturer to bear in this category. We started with the premise ‘why should coeliacs have to compromise on quality’ and we have used new starch blends, combined with the latest clean label enzymes and emulsifier technology to develop breads which look and taste like standard loaves.

“Many existing gluten-free breads are short in texture which makes them look quite ‘cakey’, they can also contain upwards of 15% fat - almost treble that of our range.”