Food Allergens and Intolerance Testing Market: Overview
Food allergies or food intolerances have affected nearly every person at some of point in their lifetime. However, there is a difference between food allergies and food intolerance. A food allergy causes hypersensitivity of the body’s immune system. It involves an abnormal response triggered by the immune system upon ingestion of certain kind of food. The most common food allergens reported in food allergy or intolerance testing include cow’s milk, peanuts, eggs, seafood, shellfish, soy, wheat and tree nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. If the immune system is not involved in the reaction to a food then it is known as food intolerance.
According to the World Allergen Organization (WAO), food allergies affect 220 – 250 million people worldwide. In the U.S., annually an estimated 30,000 emergency room visits occur due to food allergies which lead to 2,000 hospitalizations and 200 deaths. In the last few decades, the global market for food allergy and intolerance products has gone from being a niche space to mainstream. As a growing number of people are suffering from food allergies and intolerance to specific ingredients, the market now has promising growth prospects.
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The global food allergens and intolerance testing can be segmented into in vivo and in vitro methodologies. The in vivo tests include prick tests, patch tests, and intradermal tests. In vivo tests that are available for testing food allergies include the food challenge test and the elimination test.
Until a few years ago, the sales of foods for people suffering from food intolerance or sensitivity where confined largely to specialized wellness food shops and pharmacies. However, that scenario has since undergone a change with several mainstream retail stores now selling these products. With the rising popularity of such products, there has been an expansion in the product pipeline as well.
Large multi-retail players are now launching their own name brands selling gluten-free foods. The market thus now has a plethora of bakery items, sauces, cereals, pizzas, and meat items. Supermarkets have begun to advertise intolerance foods via the internet to gain new customers. With the increasing awareness and popularity of intolerance foods, many restaurants are also now featuring allergen-free food items on their menus.
The growth of the global food allergens and intolerance testing market has thus taken off. Gluten- and wheat-free products are thus making inroads into the mainstream food and beverages industry. Besides those suffering from food-related intolerance and allergies, many individuals are opting for specialized food for general health and well-being reasons.
On the basis of geography, the global food allergens and intolerance testing market can be segmented into four major regions, namely, North America, Europe, Asia – Pacific and Rest of the World. The United States currently stands as the leading country in the global food allergens and intolerance testing market. The incidence of food allergy has risen by about 18%, over the last few years here. This has enabled the regional market to emerge as a lucrative space for intolerance foods. In the U.S., it is estimated that between 34.5 mn and 45 mn people are allergic to lactose. This has led to the emergence of a massive market for gluten-free products in the United States. Although, the share of emerging Asia Pacific countries in the global market is now expanding, their share currently remains restricted because of a low awareness about food allergens and intolerance testing.
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The global food allergens and intolerance testing market is fragmented because a large number of small companies are in operation here. Among the key players profiled in the report are General Mills, Alpro UK Ltd, Pamelas Goods, Amys Kitchen, Nutrition Point Ltd, Dr Schar, Enjoy Life Natural Brands LLC, Livwell Ltd, Gluten Totally Free Foods Ltd, Semper AB, and Glutino Food Group.