Imagine a world where bread, beer and pizza were totally off the menu.For people with celiac disease -- an intolerance to the gluten found in wheat and some other grains -- it's no stretch of the imagination, as their affliction makes the act of eating a daily nightmare. And although the world of business hasn't necessarily been against celiacs, it wasn't necessarily for them either. But now things seem to be changing with even giant-sized companies like Anheuser-Busch ( BUD), Whole Foods Market ( WFMI) and owner of Chili's restaurant chain Brinker International ( EAT) taking an interest and capturing more dollars from what is a hot niche market. Celiac disease is a genetically transmitted disorder that gives those afflicted a toxic reaction to wheat, barley, rye and triticale, a wheat-rye hybrid; anything made using such ingredients, like flour-based cake or bread, cannot be eaten. Incidence of the disease, which is generally accepted to affect about one in 133 people in the U.S. and Europe, is believed to have doubled over the last two decades according to some studies, although accurate measurement is tricky because it often goes undiagnosed.
|Want more? Check out TheStreet.com TV video. TheStreet.com's Simon Constable serves Amy Quazza, who has celiac disease, her first beer in more than five years.|