Global wheat and rye prices have been doubling on an annual basis for the last few quarters, and U.S. exports of wheat and other gluten grains has shot up to all-time records. The price of food going up generally isn’t a good thing – but for Celiac sufferers, the fact that gluten-free substitutes are rising in price more slowly means that more and more U.S. food producers are likely to use the cheaper and naturally gluten-free alternatives.
I’ve seen a few brands and stores trending toward this already: Wal-mart and Publix each offer generic brand choices for their products and they tend to label items “gluten-free” more often than more mainstream brands. Wheat starch seems to be less common in everything across the board, from soups to bbq sauce (I’m usually using Cattleman’s, although it might just be a regional brand).
Corn is also going up because of increased consumption but also because of the increased use of federally subsidized ethanol. What I’ve actually seen is more potato and bean starches – is wheat’s global popularity as a cheap filler suddenly going to backfire?
Considering how often gluten ends up in foods that could honestly do without it, I’ve often speculated that wheat was extremely under-priced to the point of a market distortion tending toward over-supply. I don’t think wheat is particularly healthy regardless of an individual’s specific level of gluten sensitivity, and its main value to society has been its low cost ability to feed the masses. If its not low cost, the only reason left to use it would be in bakin.