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Is the low carb, no gluten trend hurting pizza, pasta & bread sales?

Just wondering although I think I know the answer. More & more people especially young, health conscious people & dieters are cutting back on carbohydrates & avoiding gluten altogether. This is bound to hurt sales of all things wheat. Are those industries reacting yet?

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  1. No idea, but if my wife, who is going the low-carb route is any indication, it is surely damaging their bottom line somewhat.

    1. In my small town, this translates to "mom heard about it on Oprah" or whatever.

      Hungry dad and the kids order pizza delivery.

      The trend may actually be helping the national pizza delivery joints.

      1. Pizza's not going anywhere...pizzerias face all the same challenges as other restaurants, rising costs of ingredients/delivery costs, general economic conditions, etc.
        Chain pizzerias and more flexible independents are adding gluten-free crusts. Strictly as a consumer, I expect the GF trend to only temporarily have a negative impact on pizza and pasta sales, in much the same way as the low-carb craze hit Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts a few years back. Sales ultimately rebounded.

        There's an industry report for the pizza industry that looked at 2013 and projects for 2014...

        "Summing Up
        All in all, our research suggests that the pizza industry fared well in the past year, and all indications point to another strong year ahead. Independent operators continue to thrive, holding their own against the big chains. Innovations abound throughout the industry, another positive sign for a healthy industry. Across the United States, pizzeria owners continue to adhere to cherished traditions of pizza making while embracing new ideas and technologies. And, best of all, the consumer’s love for pizza endures from generation to generation, ensuring that the world’s most popular food will remain popular for a very long time."

        1. There are more and more gf pastas and breads on the shelf every time i go grocery shopping!
          Some of the prices are atronomical ($8/lb for gf pasta?!) so i would say if anything the companies selling gf pastas and breads are making more $$ by exploiting this dietary trend and selling product at a huge profit margin vs the smaller profit margin on traditional pastas sold at $1-2/lb

          1. I think perspective is important. Your close friends may be conscious of these things and it may seem like a huge trend but most of the country is still fully indulging in wheat and carbs. My colleagues alone, a bunch of doctors, think I'm nuts when I discuss such matters.

            1. Low carb has been around for many years. It's just gotten a little more media hype with the whole paleo thing. But before that it was South Beach and Atkins ect.

              1. Not judging from the Pizza places in the Bay area. They are booming with new places opening all the time.

                2 Replies
                  1. re: lapizzamaven

                    I've found that the newer pizza places are more receptive to gluten free options. One of my co-workers has celiac and it's great for her to be able to eat pizza

                1. I would say that it's balanced by several things. Relatively few people, of the whole population, are going gluten free. Most of those are doing it as a fad diet (ie, they have not been diagnosed with celiac or gluten intolerance by a medical professional) and will stop when the fad wears off. I suspect that the population of gluten free is dominated by relatively well to do people, who are able and willing to spend marked up prices to purchase gluten free alternatives of their favourite starchy foods.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                    It is true that some are doing this type of diet as a fad, but others, such as me, are intolerant and will need to continue to eat gluten free, whether it is the substitutes or choices that are "naturally" gluten free (quotes there because many foods aren't gluten free that could be so pretty easily), even if this trend does not continue.

                    I was on a wheat free diet as a child. At that point, substitutes weren't available. So, for example, no spaghetti for years. Now, I can get gluten free pasta. It is more expensive, and that does limit how often I eat it. But it is very nice to have that option, even if the gluten free stuff isn't as good as the wheat-based version.

                    I will add that, since I have gone gluten free, I do talk about it - not to push it on anyone, but just to get an idea of who has the issue and to make people aware of it, as the damage to one's health can be pretty severe, and even most medical professionals I have talked to seem to have limited awareness. In these conversations, I have certainly run across people who are not well to do and who are gluten free by necessity. I have also run across those who complain loudly if they have to eat wheat-based products for a meal but go, with gusto, for the wheat-based dessert. I can understand why the latter (although there is no way to know just by observing this scenario if the person actually has an issue; I know I was in denial for some time before I stopped eating wheat) makes one doubt the existence of the former. But they are there.

                  2. Lots of gluten free options being offered. I'd say there's virtually no impact to overall sales.

                      1. re: zackly

                        That article looks like someone just compiled the last 5 years of food gossip into a sound byte.

                      2. Great topic! I have tossed around a bakery idea for some time now, but wonder if the customer base will disappear!

                        Somehow, though, I think bread will be consumed by many in the foreseeable future.

                        It would be great if this pushed the crappy quality stuff out of business and let the great stuff take over....happy ending!

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: sandylc

                          A friend just closed his bagel bakery in an upscale town in suburban NYC. He said people aren't buying bagels like before.

                          1. re: zackly

                            But is that the real reason? Devil's Advocate here. There are so many complex issues to consider when a food business goes under. I read on Chowhound frequently how people are searching high and low for a decent bagel - they mourn the loss of its easy (and quality) availability.

                            1. re: sandylc

                              It was at least part of the reason. He made great (NYC quality) bagels, bialys and bread.

                        2. My mom was doing low-carb in the 60s or 70s - can't remember exactly when. It was a weight-loss trend for a while back then.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: sandylc

                            True. I remember seeing "Dr. So-and-So's Low Carb Diet" on a bookshelf back in the semdies.

                          2. dunno about the groceries, but there seems to be a new pizza/pasta restaurant opening in my area daily.

                            bread, i believe could end up suffering for another reason.
                            many restaurants are coming to realize that when people fill up on bread, they order less food.
                            the restaurants are countering by a) not offering bread, b) charging for bread or c) offering cold unappetizing bread.

                            i left one of the restaurants in my regular rotation because they stopped serving bread that came hot from the oven and started serving plain, room temperature, french bread that did nothing to complement the fabulous food that they served. the new bread, diminished the entire dining experience