17 October 2011
Gluten-free food is significantly more expensive than ordinary food.
The Finnish Consumer Agency, the Regional State Administrative Agencies and the State Department of Åland have compared the prices of gluten-free products in different parts of Finland. For the comparison, the prices of 120 gluten-free food products from 95 grocery shops in 18 areas were collected in August 2011.
When the prices per kilogram of gluten-free products are compared with the equivalent prices of normal products found in the consumer price statistics of Statistics Finland, the results are the following:
- Gluten-free flour and flour mixtures are approximately nine times more expensive than normal wheat flour.
- Gluten-free pasta products are almost six times more expensive than ordinary macaroni and spaghetti.
- Gluten-free oat flakes are approximately four and a half times more expensive than ordinary oat flakes.
- Gluten-free pizzas and pizza bases are almost double the price of ordinary ready-made pizzas.
- Gluten-free bread and breakfast bread is almost two and a half times the price of ordinary bread and breakfast bread.
- Gluten-free crisp bread is almost three times more expensive than ordinary crisp bread.
- Gluten-free muesli, cereal and groats are almost twice as expensive as ordinary cereal and crunchy muesli.
- Gluten-free biscuits are more than twice as expensive as ordinary filled biscuits.
The prices of gluten-free flour mixtures ranged from €3.25 to €13.80 per kilogram. The comparison included both gluten-free and naturally gluten-free flour mixtures. The product with the cheapest average price per kilogram was the Pirkka gluten-free flour mixture that cost €4/kg. The most expensive product was Teff flour with an average price of €12/kg. According to Statistics Finland, the average price of ordinary wheat flour was €0.63/kg this August.
The prices of individual pasta products ranged from €5.18 to €23.80 per kilogram. On average, the cheapest gluten-free pasta was Moilas Wholemeal Rice-pasta that cost €6.71/kg. The most expensive pasta product, Schär Lasagne, cost €20.51/kg. According to the consumer price statistics of Statistics Finland, the average price for ordinary macaroni and spaghetti in August was €1.58/kg.
The price range of gluten-free oat flakes was from €3.5 to €15.65/kg. On average, the cheapest product was Semper oat flakes (€4.37/kg) and the most expensive Provena Instant Oatmeal Apricot (€12.79/kg). In August, ordinary oat flakes cost €1.49 per kilogram.
The average price of gluten-free bread and breakfast bread ranged from €4.94 per kilogram (Garbo Sport multigrain bread) to €18.03 per kilogram (Schär Ciabatta Rustica). According to the consumer price statistics, the prices of ordinary bread products ranged from €3.85 (rye bread) to €6.43 (baguette) per kilogram.
The average price of gluten-free crisp bread was €13.06/kg, whereas ordinary crisp bread cost €4.81/kg.
A comparison of the prices of gluten-free products in August 2011 and in March-April 2008 reveals that the average prices per kilogram have climbed in 60 per cent and dropped in 40 per cent of the cases. On average, the prices of gluten-free products have climbed 3% in three years.
Comparison table 1 (in Finnish)
Comparison table 2 (in Finnish)
Comparison table 3 (in Finnish)
Further information on gluten-free food products
The price comparison contains prices of both gluten-free and naturally gluten-free food products.
- Naturally gluten-free products consist of naturally gluten-free ingredients. These ingredients include corn, millet, buckwheat, rice, potato and sugar beet among others.
- Products from which gluten has been industrially removed can also be sold under the gluten-free label.
Currently, gluten-free and naturally gluten-free food products can contain a maximum of 200 milligrams of gluten per kilogram.
A new EU regulation coming into effect at the beginning of 2012 will change the current labelling, and products will be categorised as either ‘gluten-free’ or ‘very low gluten’.
The limit for gluten-free products will drop to 20 milligrams and the limit for products with very low gluten content will be 100 milligrams per kilogram.
Further information on coeliac disease and products suitable for people suffering from it is available on the website of the Finnish Coeliac Society.