Why are Europe’s Gluten Free Markets so Under-developed Compared to the Us? Google Data From Dec 08 is Used to See What They Search for ?

The concept of the GFP matrix was developed to understand what constitutes the characteristics of a mature gluten free market and how different communities approach searching for gluten free products.

So far in the research of markets there has been a relatively straight line trend on the GFP matrix for a countries gluten free market development. That is, countries in early stages of celiac detection have had a relatively low number of gluten related searches (per head of celiac population) and a low % of their gluten free searches devoted to a group classified as ‘generic gluten free product’ searches. The second highest group is usually celiac related with one or two terms taking up the majority of searches. The other groups are often a much smaller proportion of the top 50 searches.

Generic GF Product: This group of search terms all involve the word gluten and are generic in nature, such a gluten, gluten free, gluten free products, gluten free meals

Gluten Diet: These are terms that are related to the specifics of gluten free diets such as: gluten free diets, celiac diet.

Gluten Free recipe: Terms such as gluten free recipes, gluten recipe, gluten free baking, wheat free baking

Celiac related: These are terms related to information on the disease such as: celiac, celiac disease, gluten intolerance, gluten allergies

Wheat free: Terms such as: wheat free, wheat gluten, wheat allergy

Locations: gluten free stores, gluten free shopping, gluten free restaurant

GF Specific Foods: gluten free bread, gluten free pizza, gluten free cakes, gluten free muffins

While most European communities show a very low number of gluten related searches and so are very undeveloped/ undiagnosed – the low generic search group proportion  rule doesn’t hold well for many of the European countries studied. This may be because at a very low search rate there is high volatility and heterogeneous search patterns by locals, long term celiacs, newly diagnosed celiacs and foreigners. In these communities an amendment to the rule is that the high % generic searches can still exist in low search countries, however as the total generic group % increases, so does the % of one or two core generic terms inside of that groups searches, which is part of the expected GFP Matrix trend.

This does not necessarily apply to Russia because its low raw search values may be artificially inflated by its low Google market share and internet penetration adjusting its search values very high. Relatively high search values in a small search population could be attributed to either very newly diagnosed voracious gluten searchers or an established diagnosed group – noting that there is a stark comparison between the Russian English speaking and Russian speaking community search profiles.

Compared to countries previously analysed, the Europe communities were VERY closely clustered together on the GFP Matrix. While the % of ‘generic gluten free’ terms ranged from 30% to near 90% they all fell within 0.2 to 0.8 searches (adjusted) per celiac per month range – except for the UK and Russia. The lower celiac search communities typically also did not have enough terms to fill the Google search term cut off of 200 terms.

While a value of ONE search per celiac per month may seem very low, it should be considered that potentially only 10% to 20% of celiacs have been diagnosed even in highly developed countries, and of those who have been diagnosed maybe only 50% or less regularly search for gluten free terms. This could mean that even for the adjusted (values increased taking into account Google market share and internet penetration) search values calculated, the celiac search values could be only 10% of the actual current average search values of celiacs.

In the analysis, searches were adjusted for Google market share and internet penetration o estimate the number of celiac (divide population by 100) searches per month in two communities in most European countries – local language and English. In the two highest % generic search term group communities, Germany and France, the English speaking communities used open phases such as ‘and gluten free’ and ‘gluten free in’ rather than the standard ‘gluten’ phrases that local language communities used.

The UK had the second highest ‘per celiac’ rating for Europe at 2.2 (adjusted) searches per celiac per month. This is nearly three times any other community analysed except for Russia. It also reinforced the GFP Rule that high celiac search countries tend to have a high percentage of generic gluten free group and

RUSSIA has a very low Google market share and low internet penetration. But when it’s raw gluten free foods searches are adjusted for this, the combined Russian celiac search value, Russian and English speaking communities, had a very similar celiac search value to Australia and the US. On a community basis, ‘Russia – Russian Speaking’, had the highest celiac search of any country/ community so far analysed.

Russian English speaking had a total of 101 terms over 244 thousand searches in December 2008, while Russian, Russian speaking, had only 23 terms over 360 thousand searches. Like Mexico and Brazil, one of the more telling features of the Russian gluten free market was a comparison between specific gluten free foods for its local (Russian) community and its English speaking community. The Russian speaking community had very sizeable searches for food staples such as gluten free . By comparison the Russia English speaking community had relatively sizeable searches for: .

For countries previously analysed, it was speculated that searches mainly for food staples in communities suggested a relatively low economic status while high searches for relative luxury items such as beer and pizza are often searched for by more affluent longer term celiacs within a community. While ‘cakes’ rated high in both Russian communities they are often considered as a social / family gathering necessity, rather than a luxury item. Again, it would appear that the English community in Russia search for more affluent items than the main country inhabits – Russian speaking Russians. There may be a correlation between learning to speak English, or being an English speaking ‘foreigner’ and higher economic wealth in Russia.

The largest group in the UK (English speaking) was the generic gluten free group with 10 terms comprising 51% of top 50 searches. Of the 376 thousand searches in this group the top two terms of gluten and gluten free comprised 89% of searches.

The celiac group was the second highest group at 26% of search volumes and out of its four terms, celiac and celiac disease accounted for 94% of volumes.

Wheat free group was the third highest group. Its five terms made up 12% of the top 50 searches or 86,000. The vast majority of this groups searches were from: ‘wheat free’ (49,500) and ‘wheat gluten’ 14,800 searches. This is consistent with the GFP Matrix rule of ‘high dominance by simple search terms’ in the leading groups – in high ‘per celiac’ search communities.

The fourth highest group was the ‘specific gluten free foods’ and its 13 terms made up 7% of the top 50 volumes. The top two terms were bread related (19,800) and gluten free cake (8,100).

Germany has a very high percentage of searches in the generic category, however it also has the lowest total number of searches per population of any community analysed in Europe. German speaking and English speaking communities in Germany also are the closest paired communities of any country. This suggests a close homogeneity for these languages in the gluten free community in Germany.

German is spoken across the country and English is taught in many schools so both languages should have relatively the same number of searches, and they do.

Has 80% of search terms in the generic group. The second highest category is gluten diet which as only 8%.  In the generic group there are 18 terms accounting for 55 thousand searches out of 70,000 top 50 searches. However rather than generic terms such as gluten, gluten free foods etc the top two terms are:

“and gluten free” (27,100)

“gluten free in” (18,100)

This suggests that these terms were part of some search that may have included a specific search term such as bread or wheat etc, but was not defined by Google data.

The English language in Germany had a VERY similar profile to the German speaking profile. This is quite different to the two language profiles for Mexico and Brazil discussed in previous research which had very different profiles for the different language searches. The difference here maybe that whether Germans are German or English speaking, their socio economic status is similar, and so the things they search for are very similar.

Interestingly, not only is English speaking widespread in Germany, its number of gluten search terms is actually greater than the German searches. German language searches in Germany were only a total of 75 thousand for a total of 40 terms. Of these 83% of terms were generic gluten searches. HOWEVER, unlike the English searches, they did search for the most standard generic gluten free terms such as ‘gluten’, rather than convoluted ‘and gluten free’ terms. The second highest group in this community was ‘gluten diet’ with two terms accounting for 6% of total top 50 searches.

Of the specific gluten free foods the most popular was Oatmeal (2,900).

The French proximity to Germany might suggest a similar search profile and this is the case. Next to Germany, France has the highest % of generic gluten free term searches of all communities so far analysed and about double the amount of gluten free searches per head of population compared to Germany. That said, both these countries have nearly the lowest number of searches for the developed world (less than 0.2 searches per month).

The FRANCE, English speaking community has almost exactly the same profile and highest rating terms as Germany English speaking. Out of 91 thousand top 50 term searches, generic gluten free terms accounted for 69% (63 thousand searches). The top two terms were:

“and gluten free” (27,100)

“gluten free in” (18,100)

The second highest group was specific gluten foods at 8% of top 50 volumes or 7 thousand searches. Of these six terms, the three largest were: High gluten flour (3,600), and gluten free pizza crusts and gluten free brownies – 1,900 searches each.

This group was very similar to German, German speaking, in that the generic gluten terms group accounted for 86% of top 50 searches or 139 thousand out of 167 thousand. Also its top terms were the same as German, German speaking: gluten term searches were 110,000. The second highest term was the same as German English speaking: “and gluten free” (27,100)

Like FRANCE, English speaking, the second highest group was the specific gluten free group. At 7% this ten term group accounted for 11 thousand searches. The top three terms were: ‘high gluten flour’ (3,600), ‘rye free’ and ‘gluten free oatmeal’ – 2,900 each.

It is noteworthy that these specific food terms are food staples rather than luxuries or social event foods such as cakes or cookies etc.

This country was analysed for Italian and English speaking people. While Germany and France had low searches per head of population and a very high proportion of generic gluten searches, Italy had more generic search terms but a relatively low % of generic terms of the top 50.

The generic gluten free group only consisted 32% of searches of the top 50 terms. This equates to 26 thousand of the 84 thousand top 50 searches. Even though the proportion of generic gluten searches was low, there were 18 terms in this group. The terms were very evenly spread in search numbers with the top two being: gluten free dessert(s) (9,000); with 2,900 searches for gluten free meals and breakfasts each. This means that the top three terms were not the standard searches encountered in other communities such as ‘gluten’ and ‘gluten free products’.

The second and third highest groups were: Gluten diet (8 terms 29% searches) and ‘Specific GF foods’ ( 5 terms 18% top 50 searches). The gluten diet group was dominated by three four and five word terms rather than the basic terms like gluten diet found in the US and Australia.

The specific GF foods group, like France, was also mostly dominated by food staples: muffins (4,400), flour (3,600), oatmeal (2,900).

This had a more ‘expected’ generic food group % of 65% (66 thousand out of 103 thousand) however the 14 terms were again dominated by terms that looked like unfinished requests:

‘and gluten free’ (27,100)

‘gluten free in’ (18,100)

‘of gluten free’ (8,100)

The second highest group was ‘specific GF foods’ whose 8 terms comprised 16% of the total top 50 searches. The two highest terms were: Gluten free cookies (12,100) and ‘high gluten flour’ 3,600.

The third highest group was ‘GF locations’. It’s 22 terms made up 12% of top 50 searches (12 thousand searches). The group had a long low volume tail with the top three terms being: ‘gluten free restaurants in’ 4,400; ‘york gluten free’ 2,900 and ‘gluten free London’ 1,600.

Had a typically low celiac search value of 1.2 (English and Spanish speaking). Its 131 terms accounted for 158 thousand searches that with relatively low Google share and internet usage equated to an adjusted value of 532 thousand searches.

With generic search terms only accounting for 39% of top 50 searches, this was one of the lowest values encountered for core European communities. The top 50 terms made up only 71 thousand searches. While the generic group had 17 terms, the top term gluten free dessert(s) was only searched for 9,000 times.

As was the trend for several other European Countries with low celiac per head searches, Spain English speaking’s second highest group was specific gluten free foods. Seven terms accounted for 21% of top 50 searches. The three highest terms were: gluten free muffins (4,400); high gluten flour (3,600) and ‘gluten free oatmeal (2,900).

Similarly to Italy, this community had a high proportion of Gluten free location group searches, with its four terms accounting for 18% of top 50 searches. The top two searches were: gluten free restaurants in’ (4,400) and ‘gluten free stores’ (4,400)

This community only had 28 gluten related searches accounting for 91 thousand searches. In complete contrast to the Spanish Speaking community, the main category is the generic group accounting for a large 75% of searches (50 thousand by ‘gluten’).

The second, third, fourth and fifth groups are all around 6%. Of most interest is the specific food group that has seven terms, with the top two being: high gluten flour (3,600) and gluten free oatmeal (2,900).

Of all the countries analysed so far, Russia (Russian and English speaking) had the highest adjusted gluten free searches per head of population. Although in Russia Google only has about 25% market share with local company Yandax gaining over 60% share, the analysis calculations take this into account. It is this low Google share coupled with very low internet penetration (23%) that causes the combined (Russian and English speaking) search volumes to be adjusted from 604 thousand to 8.3M, and hence a per celiac search per month value of 5.9.

Russia’s English speaking gluten free searchers searched around 244 thousand times a month on Google. There was a total of only 101 search terms averaged over the previous year with the profile having a very long low tail. Of the top 50 terms, 14 were generic gluten terms but only accounted for 11% of the volumes. The top two terms were:


Gluten free dessert(s) (9,000); and ‘gluten free meals’ (4.800).

The highest group was actually ‘specific gluten free food’ which accounted for 23% of top 50 searches (54 thousand) and ‘Celiac’ terms also 23% of searches.  Of the ‘specific gluten free food’ terms the top five were:


The third highest group ‘celiac’ was dominated by ‘celiacs’ which had 33 thousand of the groups 55 thousand searches.

The three top groups have similar search share around 25%.

The top group was the GF specific foods which has 8 terms accounting for 26% of top 50 searches, or 93 thousand searches. The top two searches in this group are variations of ‘gluten free food(s)’ taking 66 thousand searches.

The equal second group was GF specific foods (24%) with the top three searches being

The ‘celiac’ group accounted for 24% of top 50 searches. With only four terms, its 87 thousand searches were dominated by ‘gluten intolerance’ (87,540) and ‘gluten allergy’ (32,500).

Original career in electronic engineering morphed into Corporate Marketing via MBA in 1998. In the Last few years I have had a strong interest in e-marketing and website optimisation. My strongest desire is to be working in the sustainability industry which causes large reductions in greenhouse gases. sEE more gluten free articles at glutenfreepages.com.au or read 100% original dog articles (or my day job at www.dogwalkersmelbourne.com.au )

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