According to report by the Institute of Agri-Business Management (IABM), India has the capability of producing 2,347 kilo tonnes of gluten free products and only 7.55 kilo tonnes were produced last year. The experts go on to say that India has a 0.5-2 percent of market share in the global produce.
Millions Of Indians Suffering From Celiac Disease
The Live Mint reports that millions of Indians have the celiac disease which is an inflammatory disease occurring in the small intestine triggered by the gluten in food. Gluten can be found in cereals like wheat, barley, rye, which are common in Indian households. One of the reasons for the lesser productions of gluten free product could be that only 5-7% people are diagnosed due to lack of medical facilities in the rural areas says the report. Another is that the doctors are probably confusing this disease with other allergies according to Live Mint report.
The reason given for the lesser production of gluten free products in India by the study done in the International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences by Big Data Practice and Innovation Lab and Culinary Arts and Food Science, Drexel University, in USA is that there is lack of awareness, poor diagnosis rate and lack of purchasing power.
“The absolute number of patients is increasing every day in India. As awareness about the disease increases, there is a likelihood of an exponential increase in the number of patients with Celiac Disease and hence, the demand of a gluten-free diet is likely to increase as well,” said Govind Makharia, professor at Department of Gastroenterology and Human Nutrition at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AllMS), New Delhi to Live Mint.
“However, on the flip side, maintenance of a gluten-free diet is very demanding and requires considerable amount of motivation by the patient and the family. At a larger level, industries can be motivated for large-scale production of gluten-free food products,” he said.
Jolly Masih, a researcher for IABM told the publication, “In big cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, Jaipur and Bangalore, people are also demanding gluten-free pizza, pasta and noodles. Few exclusive gluten-free restaurants also opened in big cities of India. Northern India is majorly wheat consuming belt, thus potential of gluten-free food is maximum here.”
“In India, mainly flour and mixes lead the market segment of gluten-free foods but along with increasing awareness people are getting attracted towards other food categories like snacks, pizza, pasta, fast foods and desserts. However, sections like cereals and cornflakes, energy drinks and gluten-free liquor has not picked the market yet due to lack of product demand and availability,” she added.