Why are gluten-free products so expensive?
The price of a product is dependent on supply and demand. When compared to “normal” cereal products containing gluten produced for the mass market, the market for gluten-free dietary products is small.
But the high price of these products is due primarily to the complex production process. 2008 saw the Codex Alimentarius commission set a new threshold for gluten-free foodstuffs. Accordingly, these types of products may only contain a maximum of 20ppm (20mg/100g, ppm=parts per million). These legally set gluten thresholds require extremely tight controls and particular provisions in the supply, production and packaging of food products. Only these kinds of stringent quality assurance systems guarantee a high level of product safety. Raw ingredients and products produced are subject to continual inspection and are monitored for gluten content and other allergens. The production of qualitatively high and safe gluten-free food products is fully automated using cutting-edge technology.
In addition, rice and corn, used as the prime ingredient in place of wheat in gluten-free food products, are more expensive that wheat. According to the FAO, the price in October 2008 for a ton of wheat was USD264 and for white rice USD734.