Why Is Gluten-free So Expensive?

Suffering from gluten sensitivity or being a coeliac can be exhausting. This happens when you ask yourself why is gluten-free so expensive? When compared to regular products, gluten-free products are almost double the price if not more

Despite how angry this may make you feel, it’s important to consider other factors. 

Questions like these beg for answers: Are gluten-free manufacturers only being unnecessarily demanding? Perhaps, they are only charging a meaningful price for their products?

To be candid, gluten-free products prices are fair. In this article, I am going to provide some reasons why charging a more expensive price is quite reasonable for gluten-free products.

Why is gluten-free so expensive?

The market demand for a product plays a great role in the price of that product. Sadly, the demand for gluten-free products is low. Those in need of gluten-free products only make up a tiny percent of the overall market size.

Gluten-free companies can’t utilize economies of scale because they only cater to a small number of people.

Economies of scale refer to the benefits of mass-market selling. This means the more you can sell, the cheaper your products are.

Quantity of ingredients

For instance, bread products require these major ingredients: Yeast, water, and flour. However, to produce gluten-free products, the required ingredients are almost doubled. 

manufacturers need to use extra ingredients like Xanthan gum, sugar, potato starch, cornflour, tapioca, stabilizers, and the list goes on.

Manufacturers use extra ingredients like sugar, potato starch, cornflour, tapioca, xanthan gum. All of these extra ingredients lead to a spike in gluten-free product prices.

Expensive to produce

Yes, gluten-free products require more ingredients. Unfortunately, these ingredients are more expensive than the regular ingredients. 

For instance, regular wheat flour is readily available. What more? It comes at a cheap price. However, gluten-free flours like tapioca starch are quite expensive. 

Tapioca flour, or tapioca starch, is a popular, gluten-free flour made from the starch of cassava root.  It is best known for the thick, chewy texture it lends to gluten-free baked goods but also works well as an allergy-friendly thickener for sauces, soups, puddings, and stews.

Certifications

Companies producing gluten-free products need to get the right certifications before labeling their goods as gluten-free. 

Although, getting certified doesn’t require a lot of money. However, if you are wondering why is gluten-free so expensive? Then, this is one of the reasons too.

These certifications include:

  • Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO)
  • National Foundation for Celiac Awareness Gluten-Free Certification Program (NFCA)
  • The International Certification Services (ICS)
  • Celiac Sprue Association Seal of Recognition (CSA)
  • Gluten-Free Standards Organization (GFSA)

Cross-contamination

Manufacturers avoid cross-contamination by using separate equipment to ensure the safety of the foods. Most times, these gluten-free products are also produced in separate factories.

Restaurants producing gluten-free foods also use separate fryers. They also produce these foods in separate environments. 

This means manufacturers have to buy different equipment. This adds to the cost of gluten-free products. 

Easy ways to save money while being gluten-free

Don’t buy packaged products all the time

Instead of buying whole grains all the time, consider buying other gluten-free products. These include gluten-free grains like quinoa and buckwheat.

Eat fresh foods most of the time.

You are not only cutting down costs by eating fresh food, but you are also eating healthily. 

More so, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fresh fruits, chicken, fish, meat are all gluten-free.

Buy in bulk

Buying in bulk helps you to save time and cost. 

Shop online

This is one of my favorites. Shopping online is less expensive than buying from grocery stores.

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Mary Rose
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