Ken's SuperFair Foods recently tripled the size of its gluten-free packaged foods and plans to add 50 to 60 frozen gluten-free products in the coming weeks, said Paul Vetch, Ken's Aberdeen manager.
"There are a lot of people that need that kind of diet, and we are here to try to help those people," he said.
The most common items sold are bread, pizza and snacks, he said, but there are other foods Ken's sells that people may not think of, such as gluten-free ice cream and TV dinners.
When Kessler's remodeled its store last summer, it tripled the number of its gluten-free offerings, said Jeff Serfoss, center store manager.
"This category is growing all the time," he said. "When I started at Kessler's 12 years ago, there were very few gluten-free products."
The liquor department even sells gluten-free beer.
Gluten is a protein most commonly found in wheat and a few other grains, such as rye and barley. It gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape.
Allergic reactions can range in intensity from severe malabsorption of nutrients, weight loss, diarrhea and rashes to more subtle symptoms, such as fatigue.
Six to 8 percent of the U.S. population is on some kind ofgluten-free diet, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.
Last week, the national pizza chain Domino's, including the one in Aberdeen, began selling gluten-free crust pizza.
Domino's news releases stress that its pizzas are not gluten-free. The crust is gluten free, but the pizzas are made in facilities where there could be wheat residue in the ovens or airborne wheat particles. There is a possibility of cross contamination, so those with extreme sensitivity to gluten should probably avoid the product, according to the release.
Several churches in Aberdeen offer a gluten-free communion bread option.
Recently,Wal-Martrearranged its shelving to give more space to gluten-free products. Previously, gluten-free foods were placed throughout the store, but now they have a designated area.
"We have added more than 100 products," said Ryan Harvey, assistant manager. "It is all about customer service and based on customer needs."
Sister Kathleen Bierne, vice president of the Presentation Sisters in Aberdeen, has been eating gluten-free for 24 years. She was diagnosed with dermatitis herpetiformis, which has since been linked with celiac disease. She was on medication for it, but decided to treat it through diet, she said.
When she eliminated gluten-containing grains from her diet, her skin lesions healed, she said.
Bierne, like those with celiac disease, cannot tolerate any amount of gluten. That means she cannot eat foods from a facility where wheat, rye and barley are processed.
The oats she eats, for example, are gluten-free because they have been processed separately from all other grain.