Natural Foods Merchandiser

Food allergy market overview stats and trends

From Packaged Facts, a Rockville, Md-based market research firm

  • Parents, especially expectant or new mothers, are the prime movers behind the increase in food products targeting allergic consumers, but Americans of all ages and races are turning to allergen-free foods both to manage specific food sensitivities and simply as part of a trend towards healthier eating.

  • Consumers are more aware of food and dietary issues and are monitoring and adjusting what they eat and drink as they have become more proactive in improving their health. On a global scale, consumers are actively looking to improve their health through diets. Food and diet now occupy a focal position in the prevention and treatment of many chronic diseases.

From Mintel, a Chicago-based market research firm:

  • The number of food allergy and intolerance sufferers in the U.S. varies according to source. The Food and Drug Administration claims that approximately 11 million people suffer from food allergies, while the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network puts this number at 12 million—roughly one in 25 Americans.

  • According to the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, food allergies occur in 6 percent to 8 percent of children age 6 or younger, and in 2 percent of adults. Approximately 28 percent of Americans are said to suffer from food intolerances.

  • Between 30 and 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant, and certain ethnic populations are more affected than others. Up to 90 percent of Asian Americans, 80 percent of Native Americans, 65 percent of African Americans and 50 percent of Hispanics are lactose intolerant.

  • For the most part, sufferers do not seem to be more than inconvenienced by allergies, with the most common physical symptoms being upset stomach and gas. The majority of respondents continue to eat or drink the problem food or beverage in limited amounts despite their sensitivity, and more than one third has taken an allergy medication as a way to deal with the effects.

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