The gluten-free market is a huge opportunity for pubs, restaurants and drinks retailers, according to Richard Jeffares, founder of gluten-free brewery Two Bays Brewing.
Jeffares launched his brewery in 2018, three years after he was diagnosed with coeliac disease. It was a cruel diagnosis, he says. “I was a lover of craft beer, fresh bread and pasta, and all these things were taken away from me at the time.”
Fast forward a few years and the gluten-free market has grown significantly. According to a recent article in the Medical Journal of Australia, nearly 25 per cent of the population, or six million people, actively avoid gluten in their diets. The range of gluten-free products in supermarkets has expanded and more restaurants and pubs offer gluten-free meals.
Venues with good gluten-free offerings reap the benefits, says Jeffares. “When we go out, the gluten-free community doesn’t dine alone,” he explains. “We’re often the person who decides where to go when we go out with our friends. I’ll be asked which restaurant will we go to, which pub will we go to? And I’ll steer the group to those places where I know I can have the same experience they can have.”
He’s noticed more venues now opening up with 100 per cent gluten-free menus. “The whole kitchen is being converted to gluten-free so they’re able to target that whole dining sector. The meals are safe for everybody. They don’t have to worry about any risk in their kitchen.”
Providing that risk-free experience for coeliacs can be very good for business, adds Jeffares. “We’ve heard of many venues that have seen a four or five times increase in their business as a result of going gluten-free,” he says.
Richard Jeffares has more gluten-free tips and insights for venues, retailers and brewers in his presentation “The Gluten-Free Opportunity”, which you can watch online as part of the Bloody Big Drinks Summit.