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What is the truth about cost?

Many health commissioners are stating that gluten free food is readily available and that costs of gluten free food has come down.

Our most recent data from September 2017 shows gluten free bread was on average 5 times more expensive gram for gram, whilst back in 2011 this was 4.8 times so prices of gluten free bread have not come down compared to gluten containing bread.

The most vulnerable

If you are on a low or fixed income you are more likely to be shopping for the cheaper own brand products. The cost difference between gluten free bread and own brand gluten containing breads is even greater. In the major supermarkets*, a gluten free loaf is on average 6 times more expensive gram for gram than an own brand gluten containing loaf. And if you’re shopping in budget stores** for these products the gluten free version is on average 8 times the price of gluten containing.

  • To buy the cheapest loaf in January 2011 you would be paying 36.8p per 100g for gluten free whilst gluten containing would be 5.9p per 100g.
  • In September 2017 the cheapest loaf would cost you 37.5p per 100g for gluten free yet the gluten containing price has come down to 4.4p per 100g.
  • So if you are shopping for the cheapest loaf you may find you will be paying more than 8 times the price.

Figure 1. Cost (pence per 100g) for the cheapest loaf - comparison between 2011 and 2017

new cost cheapest loaf

Impact on low income households

The impact the increased costs have will vary from household to household. The figures below provide some examples of how these higher costs affect the family budget***.

  • The cost of bread for a week for a male child aged 4-10 years would cost £11.50 per year, if buying the cheapest available bread. To do the same but gluten free this would go up to £95.97, over 8 times more.
  • For an adult male aged 19-64 the cost of bread for a year would be £16.13 and for GF this would go up to £134.63
  • For an adult female of pension age the cost of bread for a year would be £10.54 but for GF this would increase to £87.97 for a year.

Impact on the household budgets

familt infographic costFamily of four, two adults two children:

  • would pay 95p a week on bread
  • if one adult and one child had coeliac disease this would be £4.18
  • annually the spend would go from £49.40 to £217.36.

Family of four, two adults, two children:

  • would pay 95p a week on bread
  • if one adult and both children has coeliac disease this would be £5.67
  • annually the spend would go from £49.40 to £294.84.

Pension age couple:

  • would spend 50p a week on bread
  • this would increase to £1.99 if one adult diagnosed with coeliac disease
  • annually the spend would go from £26 to £103.48.

Single adult female:

  • would spend 22p per week on bread
  • this would be £1.82 per week for gluten free
  • annually this would increase from £11.34 to £94.64.

*Major supermarkets includes Asda, Tesco, Waitrose, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Co-op, Marks and Spencer, Lidl and Aldi

** Budget stores includes Aldi, Lidl, Asda and Tesco

***Impact on low income household budget calculations are based on the cheapest breads available and average bread intakes for each age group from National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) data.

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