A Cautionary Tale of Purity, Labeling and Product Literacy in the Gluten-Free Market

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Like the market for organics, the gluten-free products market is expanding rapidly. Rapid expansion in the organic foods market led to changes in the regulatory structure, which in turn, made possible the transition of organics from something considered exclusive and value-laden, to something that is conventional and void of many of the original substantive characteristics. Moreover, this process of conventionalization has contributed to a decline in product literacy. Despite a standardized label, consumers generally know less about the products' attributes once conventionalization has occurred. Using the case of organics, we show how the current governance structure for gluten might also be in the process of conventionalization. Yet, this trajectory is not inevitable. Transmutation of the market, which is accomplished via critical analysis and consumers' active engagement in defining "gluten-free," may provide an antidote to product dilution and may improve product literacy for those who need or desire gluten-free products most. Copyright 2012 by The American Council on Consumer Interests.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Worosz, MR; Wilson, NLW

Published Date

  • June 1, 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 46 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 288 - 318

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1745-6606

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-0078

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1745-6606.2012.01230.x

Citation Source

  • Scopus