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The survey of 2,000 UK adults revealed that over half (58%) want to improve their gut health and 42% are taking active steps to do so. Additionally, almost half (45%) are doing significantly more to support their immune system, and a number are following a ‘flexitarian’ diet with reduced consumption of meat (26%) and dairy (13%).

Despite the fact that only 1% of the population are diagnosed with Coeliac disease, 5% say they follow a gluten-free diet, and a further 6% would like to. The research highlights the importance that caterers, restaurants and hotels cater for this ever-growing gluten free audience.

Phil Rayner, co-owner and managing director of Glebe Farm, said: “Our new research clearly shows that consumer choices are being driven by a whole range of factors. It’s evident that people are increasingly aware about what food and drink switches they can make, in order to feel better physically and mentally.

“As a result, it’s more important than ever that the food and drink industry provides options which cater for those with Coeliac disease and food intolerances, as well as those looking for products that will positively impact their overall health and wellbeing.”

The research also focused on the growing popularity of dairy-free alternatives to milk. Of the 42% now buying these products, oat drinks are the most popular – chosen by 38%.

Improving gut health is the reason that 28% of all consumers say they would consider buying oat drink. However, many of the oat-based products on supermarket shelves today are milled and manufactured at facilities that also process grains like wheat, barley or rye. This leads to contamination of the oats, resulting in exposure to gluten and a loss of purity. Therefore, the products become unsuitable for the 1 in 100 people who are coeliac.