By Danielle Masterson
Gluten-free products are increasing in popularity at Roche Bros., the Wellesley-based supermarket chain.
The supermarket announced Tuesday that sales in its dedicated, expanded gluten-free section have grown by double-digit percentages.
"Our customers are expressing a growing concern about gluten sensitivity," said Paul McGillivray, VP of Sales and Merchandising at Roche Bros. “Even people who haven't committed to a gluten-free diet are experimenting with reducing intake and trying gluten free items as part of a healthy diet."
Each of the chain’s 18 Massachusetts stores were revamped last fall to include its own dedicated gluten-free section, which includes products by King Arthur, Betty Crocker, Glutino, Annies, Bob's Red Mill, Schar, Lundberg, Enjoy Life, and Pamela's.
Roche Bros. also has new brands like Barilla gluten-free pasta; Aleia's stuffing, croutons and breadcrumbs; Bops chips; Notta Pasta; I Heart Keenwah snacks; Wow cookies; and Benito's chips.
"Selection and convenience are incredibly important to our customers," said McGillivray. "But for a long time, people on a gluten-free diet didn't have many choices, and it took a lot of effort to search out safe and palatable gluten-free options. We're changing that."
In addition to the gluten-free section, Roche Bros. also offers gluten-free products throughout the store.
According to the NPD Group, a global marketing research company, almost 28 percent of consumers look for gluten-free foods when grocery shopping; and gluten-free product sales are expected to exceed $6.6 billion in the next three years.