Success Of Gluten-Free Beer Shows Consumers Are Hungry For Specialist Products: Analysis

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Success Of Gluten-Free Beer Shows Consumers Are Hungry For Specialist Products: Analysis

Big brands are missing the opportunity to capitalise on specialist diets, category management specialists Bridgethorne have said in a new report.

The group pointed to the success of a gluten-free variant of Stella Artois, released by AB InBev, as an indication that suppliers need to understand shopper needs and behaviours in greater detail than ever.

This also follows data that off-trade sales of gluten-free beer rose by 83% in the UK last year, while more than half of UK households purchase gluten-free products throughout the year.

Subtle Changes

Bridgethorne says this reflects changing shopper behaviour as certain demographics make subtle yet definite changes to not only their diets but also their buying habits.

“As a nation, we are clearly embracing gluten-free products more than we ever have, and not just for essential dietary reasons but also because many people perceive it to be part of a generally healthier diet,” said Bridgethorne director, John Nevens.


“However, rather than acting on supposition, brands interested in capitalising on the demand for gluten-free products need to commit to achieving a more detailed understanding of what is behind this change in behaviour. They then need to be able to share those insights with retailers in order to collaboratively grow their particular category such that both supplier and retailer benefits as a result.”

Understand The Journey

Bridgethorne urged suppliers to gain a better understanding of the journey made by both product and shopper, right up to the point of purchase.

“A range of factors impact on the shopper journey,” said Nevens. “These can include dietary beliefs, the influence of other family members who consume but don’t shop for the products, convenience, price etc.

"Unless suppliers understand what these factors are, relative to their own products, any marketing, activation or even new product development activity will not be as informed as it could be or needs to be. This means budget being committed on the basis of guesswork.”

© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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