Recently gluten-free products are becoming very popular among consumers. Gluten-free market is expanding rapidly due to the increasing number of people affected by celiac disease but moreover non-celiac consumers are embracing the gluten-free diet. Given these advancements, it is necessary to understand the reasons and beliefs behind food choices made by non-celiac consumers and compare their choices to celiac patients. The current research is very limited, hence further research is needed to generalize and better understand the relation gluten-free-non celiac consumers and comparisons. Thus, this research aims to give an overview of the gluten-free sector by taking into account perceptions of consumers, retailers and institutional actors. In order to fulfill this objective semi structured interviews were undertaken with consumers and retailers in Bologna, Italy. Furthermore, one representative of Celiac Association was also interviewed for this qualitative study. The results showed that most of the concerns regarding gluten free products are related to their low sensorial performance, high prices and low nutritional values. Moreover, it was seen that sometimes non-celiac consumers lack knowledge about gluten free food and diet, believing some myths which are not scientifically proven. Finally, it is necessary that future research focuses also on understanding glute-free choices by non-celiac consumers and ways to direct them into healthier food choices. .
Keywords: Gluten-free diet, functional food, healthy food choice, purchase motivation, qualitative interviews
Jel Code: Q13, D12