This year, I joined the Food and Culinary Professionals group in the American Dietetic Association, and I’m so glad I did. Recently, the FCP hosted a webinar in collaboration with the Almond Board of California and the Living Without Magazine, and registered dietitian Shelley Case, a well known gluten-free and celiac disease nutrition expert, was the keynote presenter. She offered practical and current information about celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergies.

First, Shelley talked about the application of this seminar to food professionals, and she said that sales of gluten-free food reached $1.56 billion, and it is expected to reach $2.7 billion by 2012. This is a large chunk of the food industry market, and companies that were previously not gluten-free are introducing gluten and wheat-free lines. Buyers of gluten-free food include individuals with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy, and other diseases, including autism. Some celebrities have popularized gluten-free food as a way to lose weight, but Shelley cautions that the foods have as much sugar, salt, and fat as gluten foods. Even so, it’s a growing market, and the food industry needs to sit up and take notice.