Gluten Free Franchise: What Are the Requirements?

It wasn’t so long ago that most of us never even knew what the word gluten was, let alone why we had to be careful eating it. But today it’s a health trend, not just for those who must cut or limit the amount of gluten in their diet, but for others who choose to limit their intake. Consumer demand for good-tasting, gluten free foods is on the rise, creating an appetizing business opportunity.

What is Gluten, Anyway?

Gluten is the name of proteins naturally found in wheat, barley, rye and other grains, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. Gluten helps foods keep their shape—kind of like a tasty glue. The National Institutes of Health says gluten has been around for more than 10,000 years, but as a society, our guts have grown intolerant of it for any number of reasons. Scientists say it may be due to agricultural changes in how wheat is now grown, or it could be because our stomachs have become more sensitive because we live in a cleaner environment making our gut more reactive to foods. Experts from the Cleveland Clinic say the exact causes of gluten intolerance is still a mystery. But for those who have gluten sensitivities it can be miserable. Serious gluten intolerance is called celiac disease and causes an autoimmune response to gluten that causes belly pain, nausea, bloating or diarrhea. If you have celiac disease, you must follow a gluten-free diet for the rest of your life.

Gluten Free Stats

It is estimated that 1 in 100 people worldwide have celiac disease but only about 30% are properly diagnosed. The majority of people who have gluten issues are women. In the U.S., about 18 million people have a sensitivity to gluten.

However, it’s estimated that about 30% of Americans choose to avoid gluten in their diet as much as possible, for non-medical reasons. The bottom line is—there are more than 100 million people in the U.S. alone that are seeking out gluten-free foods because they have to or because they choose to.

Globally, according to Bloomberg “gluten-free” products will be a nearly $14 billion industry by 2030 growing at a rate of 9.8%

How to Be Part of the Gluten Free Trend?

If you are thinking about being part of this sky rocketing industry, a gluten free franchise will provide great opportunities catering to this growing market and give you a proven business model to get your business up and running, usually sooner than if you were starting from scratch. What do you want or not want as part of your food service business? Most of us think avoid bread, beer and pizza because they are the forbidden foods that contain gluten. But there are many items that you may not realize contain gluten like gravy, some vitamin supplements and soy sauce—which means you’ve got to do your research. Food choices used to be an arduous task for those seeking a gluten free diet, until gluten free became trendy. Now, having a gluten free franchise restaurant means you provide this growing population, gluten free diet choices like fruits, vegetables, meat and eggs, or foods produced with the gluten free label.

Gluten Free, Officially

When a product is labeled as gluten-free, it means that it has been manufactured or prepared without including ingredients that contain gluten. This can include substituting gluten-containing grains with gluten-free alternatives. Additionally, strict cross-contamination prevention measures are often followed to ensure that gluten-free products do not come into contact with gluten-containing ingredients during production. There are some official parameters qualifying a food as gluten free. The FDA has a set limit of less than 20 ppm (parts per million) for the unavoidable presence of gluten in foods that carry this label. There is also an organization called Gluten Free Food Program that works closely with the Celiac Disease Foundation to promote standards for the restaurant & food service industries. They issue voluntary certifications for food service establishments who adhere to safety with gluten free menu items in an effort to increase consumer confidence. Implementing these practices means that a restaurant or food production facility has complied with gluten free food handling and labeling procedures, preventing gluten cross contamination.

Menu Options

If you’re in the market to open a gluten free franchise in the food service industry, creating your menu starts with simple, whole ingredients that are naturally gluten-free. Vegetables, fruits, non-processed meats, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products are all naturally gluten-free.

You can also incorporate gluten-free grains like quinoa, rice, millet, and corn into your menu. These grains are versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes like salads, stir-fries, and soups. Many restaurants place the “GF” symbol next to gluten free foods on their menu.

Gluten Free is Easy with SoBol

At SoBol, we understand the need to be transparent about any allergens in foods, that’s why we provide a complete nutritional break-down of all the foods we serve. As an acai bowl and smoothie café, our whole business is preparing delicious foods like fruits and vegetables in their natural, gluten-free form. We don’t believe eating healthy should be a chore.

These days consumers are looking at labels, increasingly aware of decisions about where their food is coming from. Which is why we see a rise in trends like organic food franchises, or gluten free franchises.

As a franchise owner with SoBol, our nutritious and delicious food is only part of our story, though. What sets us apart is the sense of community we create so that we can be a positive force, caring for others and passionate about what we’re doing.

If this aligns with who you are and your business goals, let’s get started with the franchise ownership process, so we can make you part of the SoBol family.