The premium paid by shoppers for gluten-free versions of staple foods could increase in the coming months as the soaring cost of ingredients such as rice flour casts a shadow over the “free from” aisle in supermarkets.
These specialist foods already cost a lot more than mainstream products, making any price rise a source of concern, particularly for people who follow a gluten-free diet out of medical necessity. The scale of the problem means some firms could opt to rewrite recipes with cheaper ingredients.
Jason Bull, of the West Yorkshire-based ingredients firm Eurostar Commodities, said the wholesale price of rice flour, which is used to make gluten-free baked goods such as bread and cakes as well as baby food and desserts, was up 26%. Another factor was a 10% increase in freight costs.
“Rice flour is a key ingredient, so this causes a problem for manufacturers,” he said. “Can they