Holland & Barrett has today confirmed its aim to become the UK’s largest Free From retailer, as it launches the largest Free From food range available in the UK, and the country’s first ever Free From concept store – branded Holland & Barrett More.
Catering for the needs of an estimated 10m of food allergy and intolerance sufferers in Britain, Holland & Barrett’s new online and high street proposition will list 1,000 Free From products at launch but will have more than 3,000 products available by the end of this year, covering all of the main Free From categories defined in legislation - from gluten and dairy free through to nut, egg and fish allergies.
The new concept store opens today in Chester and will be the first of 50 new Holland & Barrett More stores planned for the next 2 years. All Free From products will be available for home delivery nationwide from the Holland & Barrett website, where users will be able to search, filter and order by allergen as well as food category.
Peter Aldis, CEO of Holland & Barrett’s parent company NBTY Europe CEO said:
“The speed of growth of Free From has seen it transform from what was once regarded as a nutritional niche into a mainstream shopping option. You Gov data on where people buy Free From products shows we already do well in this market, scoring significantly ahead of Boots and very close to Waitrose and Morrisons. We already have more high street stores than many of the big supermarkets, and the 50 new concept stores we have planned for the next two years will help ensure we can deliver against our ambition to become the largest Free From retailer in the UK.”
According to Mintel, the UK Free From category continues to show impressive growth, with market values doubling from 2009 to reach £365m in 2014, and forecast to grow by a further 50% by 2019 (to £550m). One in 10 new food products launched in 2104 were gluten-free, nearly double what it was two years ago.
“With our heritage and market positioning, this is a natural territory for Holland & Barrett to lead. We are seeing a significant change in consumer trends in this market alongside an explosion of new Free From products, with many of those on our shelves being produced by small British businesses.”
A 2014 You Gov survey found that 1 in 5 people in the UK consider themselves to have a food allergy or intolerance, up 5% since a previous survey in 2011. Some 15% of UK households are avoiding gluten and wheat – more than half on grounds of healthier choice. Holland & Barrett’s new Free From proposition will help those with food allergies access in one place the widest choice of Free From products at competitive prices, with in-store and home delivery options making their shopping experience considerably easier.