- General Mills has applied for a patent on a system that includes several mechanical steps to produce gluten-free oats.
- The patent application, which was published July 21, includes several grading and aspirating step, designed to produce oats with gluten levels below 20 parts per million.
- Oats do not contain gluten, but are commonly contaminated by the wheat protein through crop rotation, harvest, transportation, storage and merchandising.
General Mills has a large stake in finding a foolproof method to make its products gluten-free. Last October, 1.8 million boxes of gluten-free Cheerios were recalled due to wheat flour contamination in one factory's processing systems. General Mills has several other varieties of cereals that are gluten-free, including Lucky Charms and several varieties of Chex.
In January, PepsiCo's Quaker Oats announced that it had developed a system that would pick up any stray wheat, rye, barley or spelt from its one-minute standard oats and instant single-serve pouches as they make their way through the supply chain.
In the 12 months leading up to April 2015, one in 10 food and drink product launches throughout the world — including 18% of those in the United States — were for gluten-free products, according to a report from Innova Market Insights.
Gluten-free foods and beverages have continued to grow in popularity, buoyed by an increase in the number of people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, as well as those looking for "free from" foods. The global gluten-free market is expected to reach $4.64 billion this year, according to a report from Visiongain.