Pizza Hut's recent launch of a gluten-free crust underscores the staying power of gluten-free foods.

ROCKVILLE, MD. — The market research firm Packaged Facts estimated sales of gluten-free foods sold at retail to be $973 million in 2014. The company said gluten-free is cementing its staying power as more than a dietary fad and cited Pizza Hut’s recent announcement it would offer a gluten-free menu item as an example of the market for gluten-free foods may continue growing.

“Retailers have embraced the gluten-free trend by stocking more gluten-free items, featuring them in store, and launching their own private label brands,” said David Sprinkle, research director. “In addition, retail chains have been courting the gluten-free consumer with a variety of festivals and events.”

Survey data gathered by Packaged Facts in July and August of 2014 showed that more than a third of consumers said a gluten-free/wheat-free label claim is an important factor when they are shopping. A quarter of the survey respondents also said they had purchased or consumed food products labeled as gluten-free in the three months prior to the survey.

Packaged Facts estimates the market for gluten-free foods will exceed $2 billion in 2019. Factors that will drive the market include demographic groups showing a strong propensity to purchase gluten-free foods, the perception of health problems associated with diet, the improved quality of gluten-free foods, the growing presence of large marketers in the category, and the Food and Drug Administration’s definition of gluten-free, which is expected to level the playing field among manufacturers, according to the market research company.