Young female shoppers behind ‘free from’ growth

Woman shopping

The year of 2016 was notable for the rise of ‘Free From’ products within grocery, with sales of dairy-free milk alternatives ballooning, coconut-based ‘Free From’ NPD emerging and gluten free beer sales soaring in an otherwise relatively slow beer sector, according to a new report from convenience research specialists him!

The company also says this is a trend that is already continuing into 2017, which is unsurprising given Nielsen’s prediction that the ‘Free From’ market will be worth £1bn by 2018 if current growth rates continue.

With 16% of UK consumers identifying as having a food intolerance, as well as ample resources now being available for more shoppers to self-diagnose themselves, ‘Free From’ products need to be considered as part of a core range in convenience outlets.

It will be critical to know which intolerances are most prevalent amongst shoppers. For example, one in 10 shoppers are dairy intolerant, therefore stocking popular dairy-free milk alternatives such as soya and nut milks is a necessity.

The number of shoppers who identify as having a food intolerance is much higher within younger audiences, with 30% of 18-34 year olds stating they have a food intolerance. This is reflected in the number of shoppers buying ‘Free From’ products, with younger shoppers much more likely to do so.

Females are also significantly more likely to purchase, with one quarter saying they do. Female shoppers tend to spend longer in store and drive up basket value, and hence both suppliers and retailers can benefit from attracting this shopper into store by providing a credible ‘Free From’ range.