Consumers are increasingly opting to avoid products with gluten and wheat because they want less of them in their diet and not because they may have a food sensitivity, according to a report commissioned by Mrs Crimble’s ’free-from’ cake and biscuit brand.

The report found that consumers were being swayed towards free-from foods because of an increase in product quality. They are also depending less on their GP for dietary advice and more on self-diagnosis via the internet.

The research also revealed that more than 70% of UK consumers would rather find out about dietary issues themselves than trust pronouncements from the government and health bodies.

According to the Mrs Crimble report, the number of people who believe they have some food sensitivity has grown by more than a third, but still remains relatively low with fewer than one in five thinking they, or anyone in their family, have a food intolerance.

Food consultant Angela Mumby said: "We seem to live in an increasingly less certain and trusting world in relation to food. People are making their own minds up when it comes to diet and lifestyles and using an eclectic mix of information sources to choose how they live their lives and what products to consume. People want to find their own diet and nutrition, rather than be told what to do."