Massachusetts, Virginia & New Jersey have USA’s highest Gluten Free e-demand growth rates – see why!

Jul 9


Bruce Scott Dwyer

Bruce Scott Dwyer

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This article discusses which US states have the highest growth in e-demand of gluten free products and why they are mostly clustered in the North East of America. See how they contribute to America growing at nearly 40% per annum!


Recently analysis was performed for Gluten Free Pages on the growth of whole country gluten free e-markets (using Google data) for the US,Massachusetts, Virginia & New Jersey have USA’s highest Gluten Free e-demand growth rates – see why! Articles Australia, Canada and the UK.

That research showed that the US (42%) and Canada (18%) had the largest growth (gluten free searches on Google from 2004 to 2009), while Australia had 10% per annum growth and UK essentially zero.

This information is tempered by the actual base level of searches in each country. Previous analysis of what is termed ‘Celiac searches / mth' within each country ranks the four countries of interest as : Australia (4.2 searches), Canada (3.3), USA (2.7) and UK (2.2). The analysis adjusts values to take account of internet usage and Google market share. Of course the US has the largest population of each country under analysis so in absolute terms the US has the most searches (over 3 million) however ‘searches per celiac' gives a truer indication (level of saturation) of a market in each country. 

The GFP Matrix is a construct that compares a country's ‘celiac searches per month' V ‘GDP per person'. This analysis shows that there is a logarithmic relationship between these two variables. That is, the greater the wealth of a country, the higher the diagnosis and the higher the e-demand for gluten free products.

To better understand the dynamics of these each countries markets it is best to analyze the lowest level of analysis that Google allows - down to state level. Firstly consider the US.


Following this theory of country wealth being related to the level of gluten free market maturity, it is useful to compare the top ten economic US states with the bottom ten states and see if this rule applies within countries.

The data below is "measured by median household income" and is sourced from: The U.S. Census Bureau in 2007.

The 10 richest states with the highest median household income

          STATE              INCOME     POPULATION

          Maryland           $65,144    5,296,486

          New Jersey         $64,470    8,414,350

          Connecticut        $63,422    3,405,565

          Hawaii             $61,160    1,211,537

          Massachusetts      $59,963    6,349,097

          New Hampshire      $59,683    1,235,786

          Alaska             $59,393    626,932

          California         $56,645    33,871,648

          Virginia           $56,277    7,078,515

          Minnesota          $54,023    4,919,479

The 10 poorest states with the lowest median household income

          STATE          INCOME      POPULATION

          Montana        $40,627     902,195

          Tennessee      $40,315     5,689,283

          Kentucky       $39,372     4,041,769

          Louisiana      $39,337     4,468,976

          Alabama        $38,783     4,627,851

          Oklahoma       $38,770     3,450,654

          Arkansas       $36,599     2,673,400

          West Virginia  $35,059     1,808,344

          Mississippi    $34,473     2,844,658 


For the three poorest states in the US, Google "does not have enough search volume to show graphs." Of the other seven, data only starts in late 2008 and is very intermittent and unreliable.

You might consider that the Google data cut off applies because of low searches caused by low state populations. This might seem also seem to be the case for rich states too as the three ‘rich states' out of the top ten that do not have data record (Hawaii, New Hampshire, Alaska) ALL have populations under 1.3 million people. However two of the rich states that Google's does record data for: Connecticut (pop 3,405,565) and Minnesota (pop 4,919,479) both have lower populations than four of the poorest ten states that don't have a Google record.

This rules out population size as the only predictor of data availability or market maturity. Two preliminary likely causes that may lead to lack of data for low wealth populous states is that they are likely to have low internet usage and low diagnosis rates. Without diagnosis, their need for gluten free products would not exist and search demand would be very low.

US RICHEST States analysis

Data is available for Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, Virginia and Minnesota. Data is not available for Hawaii, New Hampshire, Alaska.

The similarity in growth profiles between the ALL American growth trend and the wealthy states suggests that these states have the most effect on the total countries growth in general. It is noted that the vast majority of these wealthy states are all geographically close by to each other in the north east of America, so they are likely to have cultural similarities.

The ‘ALL American' gluten free e-demand growth trend is one of the highest of all the developed countries under analysis. Of the top ten wealth states in the US, California has the largest population but has only an average market growth rates, compared to the other rich states. High wealth is likely to be contained in its largest cities like San Francisco and LA with regional wealth and interest in gluten free searches reducing the overall growth rate. Also as a whole the state is likely to have achieved its growth relatively early and may have a high absolute search numbers already, reducing its growth rate potential.

Lowest growth rate HIGH WEALTH states

Connecticut and Maryland are the first and third highest wealth states in all of America yet over the last couple of years they have had the lowest of the rich states growth rates. In particular Maryland has the highest 'wealth per population' value and the lowest growth profile. This could mean that it has already peaked in absolute search terms or that it simply isn't growing as fast as expected. Of equal influence maybe that Maryland state while having a high population of 5,296,486 and a high density of 222 people per square km, however it has a relatively small ‘largest city' of Baltimore with around 635,000 people.

Connecticut is the third richest state but only has a population of 3.4 million people. Connecticut area is 12,548 square km with a population density of 279 people per square km but again its largest city is Bridgeport with a population of 140,000.

It is believed that besides the need to have a minimum state population, that a relatively high urbanization may be required to achieve critical mass of both diagnosis, word of mouth and a substantial gluten free market.

Highest growth rate HIGH WEALTH states  

Massachusetts (popn 6,349,097, sq km 20,305, popn density 320) is said to have most of its population in the Boston metropolitan area. Boston itself has a population of 600,000.

Virginia is the highest growth of the wealthiest states. (popn 7,078,515, Area is 102,547 sq km, popn density 75). The population density is low, but this is because compared to the other states analyzed above, it has one of the largest areas. However with its large area, it still has a very high level of urbanization, with its top five cities accounting for nearly 1 million people: Virginia Beach, 438,415; Norfolk, 231,954; Chesapeake, 218,968; Arlington, 195,965; Richmond, 193,777;

For America, It would appear that high wealth, high urbanization, and states above four million people are needed to generate the highest growth in gluten free demand.


Australia’s three most populous states and capital cities (abs data June 2007) are:

          NSW      6,888 M    (Sydney = 4.334M)

          VIC      5.204 M    (Melbourne 3.805 M)

          QLD      4.181 M    (Brisbane 1.857M)

          TOTAL Australia population = 21.015 M

From the population information it can be seen that the three largest states in Australia comprise the majority of Australia's population, and within those states, the populations are largely within the capital cities.

At the start of this article it was stated that Australia has a ‘celiac search per month' value of 4.4 compared to America's 2.2. Thus while Australia has a much higher search value per celiac, its gluten free search growth rate is much less than America because it is closer to maturity and plateuing.

The net worth data shows that apart from house prices (much higher in Sydney than Melbourne) that Sydney and Melbourne have a similar wealth profiles. As these two cities have similar populations, level of urbanization, wealth, education and race profiles it can be seen that their gluten free growth trends are also very similar. Also note that just like the less populous states in America, Brisbane is the lower wealth and lower population capital city, of the three states analyzed in Australia, which has resulted in it having the lowest growth trend of the three largest states.

The high level of urbanization (large proportion of state populations in large cities) seems to be one of the main reasons that Australia's ‘celiac search / mth' rate is higher than the US.


From the analysis of America's top ten wealthiest states and Australia's three wealthiest states, it appears that the wealth of a state (per person) is a good indicator of the gluten free searches GROWTH trend (and most likely the awareness of celiac disease). The highest ‘wealth per person' states have a much higher growth rate of gluten free markets compared to the poorer states. This suggests that the markets are still in their infancy as the high wealth states are growing fast but beginning off a low base. This is in line with general low diagnosis rates.

It also appears that there is a population threshold for states where gluten free registers in the ‘publics consciousness' to have them search in sufficient numbers to be recognized by Google. For example Connecticut (population 3,405M) is the third richest US state (per person), but it has one of the lower populations and lower urbanizations, which leads to one of the lowest growth trends of the wealthy US states. Queensland's capital, Brisbane (population 1. 857M), is a lower proportion of the state’s total population (compared to NSW and VIC) which leads to QLD having a gluten free search growth profile that is substantially lower than VIC or NSW.

It would also appear that a high wealth states with high urbanization are also likely to have potentially higher educated populations and more likely to seek out resolutions to health conditions such are caused by things like celiac disease.

Wealthy states that are more rural populations are likely to have less access to internet, and have less experienced (regarding celiac disease diagnosis) doctors causing less gluten demand and low gluten demand growth rates.

At the other end of the scale it appears that the largest wealthy states are likely to have already generated a substantial base for gluten free searchers several years ago and thus the relative growth trends of the wealthy most populous cities in America (California) and Australia (Sydney) are not the highest growth trend states because they are beginning off a high base and may be slightly more mature markets.