Slade Gorton, a Boston company that imports, manufacturers, and distributes seafood products, is teaming up with Elevation Brands, a Framingham company specializing in allergy-friendly foods, to offer gluten-free menu items to foodservice customers, the two companies said Tuesday.
Their press release cited data from the Celiac Disease Center, which estimates that 18 million Americans suffer from Celiac disease, an intolerance to gluten found in wheat, barley, and other grains. Also cited were data from Packaged Facts, a market research publisher, which projects that the US market for gluten-free products should grow from $4.2 billion in 2012 to $6.6 billion by 2017.
Slade Gorton and Elevation Brands said that a dominant player has yet to emerge in the niche that would provide the foodservice industry with a reliable source of allergy-friendly and gluten-free foods. The Slade Gorton-Elevation Brands partnership is an effort to win a big share of that market.
Their plan is to offer allergy-friendly and gluten free versions of such popular items as breaded fish sticks and filets, chicken patties, French bread pizza, and chicken nuggets to schools and institutions, military bases, and workplace cafeterias.
Slade Gorton is known for its IcyBay brand. Elevation markets a line of all natural, allergy-friendly and gluten free frozen foods under the Ian’s brand.
“This partnership is a natural fit,” Elevation Brands CEO Chuck Marble said in a statement. “Each of us brings a proven strength to the table – ours as a manufacturer and pioneer of allergy-friendly foods consumers can trust and theirs as a trusted, long-term provider of seafood and partner to the foodservice world.”
In a separate statement, Slade Gorton president and CEO Kim Gorton added: “In support of our mission to ensure an enjoyable dining experience for the American consumer, Slade Gorton is proud to partner with Elevation Brands to offer allergy friendly and gluten-free products to the foodservice market. We share a collective commitment to investing in innovation, health and wellness, and increasing consumers’ access to the foods they love.”