The Black Farmer sponsors ‘Gluten Free Lifestyle’ Research Project at Lancaster University
According to Coeliac UK it is estimated that one in 100 people in the UK has Coeliac Disease, but only a quarter of those are diagnosed and follow a gluten free diet. Yet the stats reveal that over 12 million people in the UK – a staggering 80 times the number of diagnosed Coeliacs - are following a gluten free lifestyle from choice. These include celebrities Victoria Beckham, Jessica Alba, Miley Cyrus to name a few who have spurned gluten and cut it from their diets.
The Black Farmer, gluten free advocate and the UK’s top selling super premium gluten free sausage brand, wants to understand why. And in its quest to know more, The Black Farmer is sponsoring a research project with students at Lancaster University Management School to discover the motivations behind this lifestyle choice.
“It is so exciting to be working with a group of students from Lancaster University on this project, which in itself is fascinating. They have a fresh approach and are as enthusiastic as I am to find out more. I’m sure they will come up with some interesting and revealing findings,” comments Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones aka The Black Farmer.
According to Kantar Worldpanel, ‘over half the population is now buying Free- From, possibly reflecting increased ranges and innovation. Existing shoppers are also choosing to buy Free-From more frequently, pushing up volume per purchaser.’
Worth just £135m five years ago, the Free-From market is now worth £355m and growing at 19.9% year on year*. Mintel forecasts that it will reach £540m by 2018.
Wheat, a mainstay of the British diet for centuries, is now widely recognized as the culprit when it comes to Coeliac Disease, thanks to its high gluten content. Traditionally a cheap ingredient, it is used widely and, it is argued, unnecessarily, in many millions of processed foods simply as a cheap filler where it adds neither quality nor flavour to the finished product.
Many foods, which have wheat as a central ingredient, are seeing that consumers are demanding a gluten free version for every day staples – sausages are a good example of this, where wheat has traditionally been used as a filler making this favourite staple a no-go area for Coeliac sufferers.
“I think it is a staggering statistic that many millions of people are following a gluten free diet as a lifestyle choice. But we don’t really understand the reason why. Is it for health benefits? To lose weight? A fad? Celebrity led? Or simply that if one member of the family needs to follow a gluten free diet, then the rest of the family follows suit. And is it these people who are fuelling the massive growth in the Free-From grocery market which has doubled in value in the last five years,” comments Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones aka The Black Farmer.
*Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 14 April 2014
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Notes to editor:
Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones was born in Frankfield, Clarendon, Jamaica. He came to the UK at the age of four and was raised in Small Heath, inner city Birmingham. He left school without gaining any qualifications.
For a number of years Wilfred worked as a chef, before pursuing a career in the BBC, becoming a producer/director mainly working on food and drink programmes. He is credited with bringing many of the top celebrity chefs to the small screen including Gordon Ramsay, Antony Worrall-Thompson, Brian Turner and James Martin.
In 1994 during the last recession he founded a food and drink marketing agency in London which went on to launch and run successful marketing campaigns for innovative brands including Loyd Grossman sauces, KETTLE Chips, Plymouth Gin, and Cobra Beer.
In 2000 Wilfred bought a small farm on the Devon/Cornwall border, and ten years ago launched The Black Farmer food brand whose products are now available in all major multiple retailers. The brand markets award winning gluten free sausages – now the leading super premium sausage brand in the UK – as well as bacon, burgers, meatballs, chicken, eggs and cheese. In September 2009 he launched his first The Black Farmer Cookbook published by Simon & Schuster.
In 2011 The University of Plymouth awarded Wilfred an Honorary Doctorate in Business.
Wilfred tours the country giving inspirational talks to entrepreneurs and people starting up businesses. He also mentors young entrepreneurs.
Flavours without Frontiers – the promise offered by his products also goes some way to sum up his personality.