TIGARD, Ore. — Gluten-free products are a growing segment of supermarket sales, speakers said here yesterday at the 13th annual Food Industry Leadership Conference sponsored by Portland State University. Paul Enderle, vice president and merchandiser for produce and Nutrition Centers at Fred Meyer Stores, Portland, said gluten-free products are growing three times faster than other items in the stores' nutrition centers. "We've seen the section grow from 4 feet to 8 feet and, in some case, up to 12 feet at some stores, and we now identify gluten-free products with a special logo in all departments, including frozen foods," he said. Dennis Gilliam, vice president, sales and marketing, for Bob's Red Mill, Milwaukie, Ore., said gluten-free grains are a growing segment of his company's business. "Although celiacs account for only about 1% of the population, they are very vocal because they have particular needs that have been unfulfilled for years," he pointed out. In other comments, Enderle said adding organic produce involves more than simply putting merchandise on the shelf. "You must train your employees about the differences between products and be more high-profile in your merchandising, positioning and advertising."
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