America’s gluten free online market grew at an amazing 121% over 2009 & now the USA is the gf LEADER

Feb 1


Bruce Scott Dwyer

Bruce Scott Dwyer

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Previous original analysis by GFP showed that America had one of the highest online ‘searches per celiac’ of any country at 2.7 searches per month. This was only slightly behind Australia at 4.2 and Canada at 3.3. This update report looks at how the USA has performed over 2009 and how the type of gluten free search terms have changed. The report shows that America is now the leading online gluten free market ‘per celiac’ in the world..


Previous research into the online gluten free demand for the USA analysed both English and Spanish speaking searches,America’s gluten free online market grew at an amazing 121% over 2009 & now the USA is the gf LEADER Articles but found that the English searches massively overshadowed other language searches. For this reason only American – English speaking searches will be analysed here.

From the data table below It can be seen that of the top 50 gluten free associated terms on Google for NOV 2009, that American (English searches) have increased considerably over one year. Specifically, between Nov 08 (3,793,400) to Nov 09 (8,388,000) – searches per month on gluten free associated terms on Google increased an astounding 121 percent!

USA Gluten Free group absolute Monthly search volumes (Nov) and increases

GF group……… .2008…………....TOTAL 2009….…% Volume Change

GF Generic……..2,414,000…....5,393,300……….123%

Gluten diet……..160,600……….355,000…..…….…121%

GF Recipe……...226,600………..767,400……………239%


Wheat free……..150,600……….347,000…………..130%


Specific foods….273,200………764,600…………..180%

When the top 50 monthly searches are segmented into seven subcategories (shown above), it can be seen that each of the groups received a similar increase (except celiac terms). The main category (generic gluten free terms), changed from 9 terms (2,414,000 searches) accounting for 59% of top 50 searches TO  9 terms (5,393,300 searches) accounting for 64% of the top 50. This is an increase of 123% for this main group over the last year!

The second highest group (celiac searches) actually decreased in absolute searches from six terms (796,500) to 4 terms (693,100) – a 13% DECREASE in volume. The two largest group increases were from gluten recipe (226,600 to 767,400 – up 239%) and GF specific foods (273,200 to 764,600 –  up 180%). The significant thing about this change is that following the global financial crisis it appears that many more people are searching for how to make gluten free items at home and to buy specific GF products in retail. The two strongest GF specific foods were bread (245,000 searches) followed by flour (123,500), diary free (67,600), then a whole host of individual finished foods such as pizza, cake, chocolate, cookies.

An important indicator as to the level of maturity in the market, is the change in proportion of the seven groups that comprise the top 50 search terms. Previous GFP research showed that the highest ‘celiac search’ developed countries showed a distinct pattern in the proportion of these groups. That is that the generic gluten free group was always around 60% of the top 50 searches followed by the celiac group at around 20%.

With the large jump in total searches for the year, the proportion of these groups shares have changed significantly. For America the generic group proportion increased by 5%, while its celiac group decreased from 20% to 8%. There was also a slight increase in gluten free recipe and GF specific food proportions. By comparison, Australia (a higher celiac search country than America in 2008), the main ‘gluten free’ group in 2009 is 60% and the celiac group sits at 11%.  Australia’s online demand market underwent a very similar change as occurred with the USA proportions. Most notable is that Australia Australia’s generic group remain fixed, at 60%, while its celiac group searches dropping from 17% to 11% over the year.

A previous Gluten Free Pages article comparing various leading gluten free search countries showed that the last five year trend for celiac related searches has been relatively flat compared to a strong rise in gluten free associated searches. This is in line with the current changes to the top 50 group proportions.


The trend for the single term ‘gluten free’ searches on Google shows steady seasonal growth and very similar yearly growth patterns for 2005 to 2008, however 2009 shows a very different pattern. Traditionally there has been a steady increase in search volumes from Jan to December with a slight stagnation mid year (summer). For 2009, there was a very long zero growth period between May and October, with a VERY strong rally during October to December.

The Jan to December volume search growth rates for the term ‘gluten free’ have been: 2006 (53%), 2007 (38%), 2008 (38%) AND 2009 (58%).

It is noted that each of those years experienced an exceptional increase in December and a particularly strong one in 2009 (22% between October and December). It would appear that ‘Christmas shopping’ for Americans buying gluten free products for friends and family really took off in late 2009.

The seven Gluten Free America leading term trends

For the seven main groups main search volume terms, the ‘celiac’ and ‘wheat free’ searches have remained steady over the last five years, while ‘gluten free restaurants’ have increased in popularity since May 2008.

The four groups that have enjoyed HIGH similar growth are: ‘generic gluten free’ searches, ‘gluten free recipes’, ‘gluten diet’ searches and ‘specific gluten free foods’. The ‘generic gluten free’ top two terms comprise around 50% of the total group which as the whole group comprises 60% of total gluten free associated searches. The stability of the growth of the gluten free term is the most significant indicator of the continuing high growth of the whole market.


The American Gluten free online demand market grew the fastest of the main top four gluten free online demand 2008 countries. As America also happens to have the largest absolute searches for gluten free products in the world, this high growth following the peak of the global financial crisis is very heartening for celiac and gluten intolerant people.

High search rates and real demand (actual physical sales volumes) in the USA are likely to raise the awareness of celiac disease, increase the diagnosis rates and boost gluten free markets the world over. 

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