The survey of 250 consumers, commissioned by Swedish bakery Almondy, revealed that a quarter of people are now either gluten intolerant or avoiding gluten as part of a lifestyle choice.
A further 88 per cent of people believe gluten-free is a healthier option, and 74 per cent of people would be influenced by a gluten intolerant friend on where to eat.
However, despite rising demand, the majority (77 per cent) of consumers believe foodservice outlets are not doing enough to cater for gluten intolerances and avoiders.
The research suggested that women are more likely to avoid gluten than men (30 per cent compared to 13 per cent) and 77 per cent of women want to see more gluten free options on menus.
People aged 18-34 year olds are the most likely to avoid gluten, with 70 per cent of consumers surveyed in this age gap dissatisfied with gluten-free options on menus.
Demand for gluten-free on menus was highest among Wales & the Midlands (82 per cent), compared to 75 per cent in Scotland and the North, 71 per cent in Northern Ireland and 68 per cent in the South.
Kantar Wold Panel predicts the gluten-free market will be worth £519m by 2016 and the Almondy survey suggested that foodservice outlets can charge a premium for gluten-free options.
Nearly half (42 per cent) of people said they would pay more for a gluten free, rising to 48 per cent among the over 55s.
“The demand for coeliac-friendly menu options is not just a trend, especially as a whopping 82 per cent of people think gluten-free food is healthier,” said Andrew Ely, managing director at Almondy.
“Our research highlights the gap between supply and demand so it’s essential that caterers get on board and realise the huge profit opportunity available to them – particularly as 74% of people would be influenced by a gluten intolerant friend on where to eat.”
Read our report on the growing demand for gluten free here.