Two more food plants gain gluten-free certification

Snack foods from Boulder Canyon Natural Foods recently joined a worldwide roster of more than 10,000 food products authorized to bear the certified gluten-free seal from the Gluten-Free Certification Organization, a program of the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America, Auburn, Wash.

Boulder Canyon is a brand of Inventure Foods Inc., which has manufacturing facilities in Bluffton, Ind., and Goodyear, Ariz. The plants also copack salty snacks under license for T.G.I. Friday's, Nathan's Famous and Vidalia brands and kettle-cooked potato chips for Poore Brothers and Bob's Texas Style brands.

Sales of certified gluten-free chips, pretzels and other snacks grew 54 percent in the 2010-2011 period, according to Inventure; overall, gluten-free products had sales growth of 27 percent from 2009-2011. U.S. retail sales were valued at $6.1 billion, estimates research firm Mintel, a figure that includes products that inherently are gluten free, like scallops and tomato sauce. Mintel projects gluten-free food sales will reach $8 billion at retail in 2013.

"The growth in the gluten-free food category is a direct result of consumers' demand for better-for-you products," Laura Setzfrand, Boulder Canyon's vice president of marketing, states in prepared remarks accompanying the certification announcement.

Gluten is linked to certain proteins in wheat, rye and barley. Intolerance to gluten is a gastrointestinal disorder known as celiac disease. In the United States, the condition is estimated to affect between 1 in 105 and 1 in 1,750 people, or 0.06%-1% of the population.