Gluten-free tops Canada’s hottest food trends for 2014

Gluten-free pastries are displayed in a specialized patisserie, on March 8, 2012 in Paris. The intolerance to gluten -- a protein found in cereals such as wheat -- can cause chronic diarrhoea and vomiting. MARINA HELLI/AFP/Getty Images

The local food movement and dark leafy superfoods have been usurped — gluten-free is Canada’s hottest food trend for 2014.

A new survey shows that the gluten-free, allergy-conscious food trend has firmly taken hold in the minds of Canadian restaurateurs and chefs.

According to the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation, more than 330,000 Canadians are believed to be affected by celiac disease (although only 110,000 have been diagnosed).

The CDHF also says the rate of celiac disease in western countries has doubled in the last 25 years.

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Celiac disease is a digestive disorder where the immune system reacts against gluten found in wheat and other grains. For those with celiac disease, exposure to gluten can cause a number of complications including vomiting, chronic diarrhea, chronic constipation, bloating and pain. Health Canada says the only way to avoid these symptoms is a “life-long gluten-free diet.”

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“The Canadian diner has a heightened awareness of food intolerances, allergies and ingredients, and chefs are taking note,” said Garth Whyte, Restaurants Canada CEO.

More than 400 professional chefs participated in the annual Restaurants Canada Chef Survey.

Gluten-free knocked reigning food trend champion, the local food movement, from the top spot it held for the previous four years.

After being knocked out of the top ten, quinoa is back in the number two spot.

Top 10 hot food trends in Canada

  1. Gluten-free/food allergy conscious
  2. Quinoa
  3. Locally sourced foods
  4. Leafy greens (e.g. kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens, collard greens, dandelion, beet greens)
  5. Craft beer/microbrews
  6. Food smoking
  7. Heirloom fruit and vegetables
  8. Charcuterie/ house-cured meats
  9. Food trucks
  10. Inexpensive/ underused cuts of meat (e.g. beef cheek, brisket, pork shoulder, skirt steak)

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