While undertaking some research into the demand for gluten free products we came across some interesting stats from Google.
If you’re not familiar with Google Trends, it’s software which records keyword searches and identifies patterns, or trends in those searches. Based on search data over the years they can then predict the volume of searches and words people use to find products and services. It’s commonly used in search engine optimisation but it’s also used for to predict what shoppers might purchase and when.
One search which surprised us was the difference in “gluten free” versus “coeliac”. The term “coeliac has declined in recent years and seems set to remain that way. “gluten free” however has seen a sustained rise with a dramatic increase in early 2012.
To put the numbers into perspective, (the graph on Google is interactive so numbers aren’t embedded in the image), the first peak or red line in 2004 is 65 searches for the month of May.
Taking a snapshot of each search term, here are the last three years of searches for March, specific to Ireland.
|Mar 11||Mar 12||Mar 13|
|Gluten Free Diet||4||6||10|
|Gluten Free Bread||5||7||7|
|Gluten Free Products||0||0||2|
According to the graph, these trends are set to continue but another interesting statistic was the county of origin for many of these searches. I say interesting because when they are compared to venues offering gluten free foods, there seems to something of a disparity:
Galway, West Meath, Sligo, Limerick and Kildare are badly under served with Gluten Free establishments.
There could be a number of reasons for this, from not advertising gluten free food (but locals may be aware of it) to searches being highly localised. One or two establishments within a county may successfully serve the entire county, but from experience, this is unlikely.
This leaves us with a challenge and potentially for those in the hospitality trade, an opportunity.
Do you know of venues offering gluten free foods, accommodation or services in these counties which are not in our directory? If so, please let us know.