WELLESLEY HILLS, Mass., Feb. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- If you build it, they will come. That's the lesson at Roche Bros. Supermarkets where shoppers have been giving the new, expanded gluten-free sections enthusiastic thumbs up. This past fall, every one of the company's 18 regional markets was revamped with dedicated, gluten-free sections stocked with hundreds of new items. Coupled with price decreases and increased consumer messaging, the expanded selections have grown gluten-free sales by double-digit percentages.
Growing awareness, product availability and improved quality mean more people are cutting gluten out of their diet, even if they haven't been diagnosed with a gluten intolerance. Shoppers are turning to gluten-free diets as a way to lessen the effects of certain health conditions like migraines, fatigue, abdominal pain and other chronic digestive complaints or to lose weight.
"Our customers are expressing a growing concern about gluten sensitivity," said Paul McGillivray, VP of Sales and Merchandising at Roche Bros. "Even people who haven't committed to a gluten-free diet are experimenting with reducing intake and trying gluten free items as part of a healthy diet."
The new gluten-free sections include significantly expanded offerings from best-selling brands including King Arthur, Betty Crocker, Glutino, Annies, Bob's Red Mill, Schar, Lundberg, Enjoy Life, and Pamela's.
Roche Bros. is also stocking new brands including Barilla gluten-free pasta; Aleia's stuffing, croutons and breadcrumbs; Bops chips; Notta Pasta; I Heart Keenwah snacks, Wow cookies and Benito's chips.
"Selection and convenience are incredibly important to our customers," said McGillivray. "But for a long time, people on a gluten-free diet didn't have many choices, and it took a lot of effort to search out safe and palatable gluten-free options. We're changing that."
According to McGillivray, Roche Bros. heard directly from customers that they wanted more gluten-free options. National trend data also show growing demand. The NPD Group estimates that almost 28 percent of consumers seek out gluten-free foods. Nationally, gluten free food and beverage sales are projected to exceed $6.6BN by 2017.
In addition to the dedicated gluten-free section, Roche Bros. continues to identify additional gluten-free items with shelf tags and signs throughout the store. Visit www.rochebros.com to find a location near you.
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SOURCE Roche Bros.