Tess Wicksteed: Allergen-Free Foods Will Have An Impact Because They’re Necessary

Tess Wicksteed: Allergen-Free Foods Will Have An Impact Because They’re Necessary

Why necessity is creating a radical new direction for the future of food.

Tess Wicksteed, Pearlfisher
  • 24 december 2013

The allergen-free market is quickly shifting from compromised copies of gluten-filled favorites to an area of experimental food and flavor, ripe for innovation. The future of food is one of today’s most hotly debated topics by everyone from scientists and celebrity chefs to Bill Gates. But, we believe that necessity remains the mother of invention. And there is one relatively new and breaking influence that has the power to endure and steer yet another radical change for the future direction of food: allergen free.

In the burgeoning allergen free market, necessity is creating totally new approaches to healthy eating. This market is quickly shifting from compromised copies of gluten-filled favorites to an area of experimental food and flavor, ripe for innovation.

GF pizza

But first, let’s take a step back and look at the context. Allergen free (or Free From which is the name convention now adopted in the UK) brands are rapidly becoming mainstream and it is now such a recognized market that we think of them as a new way of eating for everyone, not just a restriction for the few.

We are seeing both existing and new brands respond to food allergies, sensitivities and the lifestyle changes of consumers by developing new languages and aesthetics that are changing the perception of this market from staid, limited, mundane and bland to a fresh, exciting, varied and easy way to eat. In this way, these brands are building (a new) desire amongst their established audience and – maybe more significantly – now drawing in a brand new food savvy audience.

New brands such as Ilumi are leading this change. Ilumi is a range of 100% natural nut, milk and gluten free gourmet convenience meals, designed to reflect the exciting truth behind its food; that it’s full of taste, variety and cooking expertise while still being allergen free. The brand philosophy focuses on food without sacrifice, creating tolerance rather than intolerance and bringing to life a forward thinking, food-focused approach and establishing a connected community around the brand. It is the creation of this complete world of food – and food experience – that has already galvanized a foodie revolution and, with the growing influence of this market, is now taking this connection to food to a whole new level. Foodies are looking to get the most from their food emotionally, physically and intellectually and buying into the idea – and celebration – of ‘being in the know’ that is at the core of the new Free From approach.


Allergen free consumers are foodies, not faddies, and with this growing market high on consumers’, retailers’ and the nation’s agenda, this presents a new and exciting opportunity for future thinking and innovation. Our food brands, experts and ideators need to adopt and adapt this approach mainstream, finding new and ever more creative product solutions that stimulate and challenge the assumptions of food culture as we know it.

Images: GCMag, PopSugar Fitness

Tess Wicksteed is Executive Vice President at Pearlfisher. Having worked at Pearlfisher for over 13 years, Tess is a strategic driver in the development of Pearlfisher New York. Tess’s great talent is her instant ability to see the wood for the trees. As a major force behind Pearlfisher’s strategic offer, she trades in originality, clarity and logic, delivering bold imaginative thinking for brands like Coca-Cola, Absolut, Unilever, and Nestle.


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