Online restaurant ordering service GrubHub reports that takeout orders containing gluten-free items grew by nearly 60 percent between April 2012 and May 2013.

Oregonians have the biggest hunger for gluten-free items, but restaurants in Detroit are the most responsive to requests for items that don’t contain the protein found in wheat and some related grains, according to data from GrubHub.

GrubHub also found that women are 50 percent more likely to order gluten-free items than men — data that is consistent with research into Celiac disease, a gluten allergy, which indicates that women are more likely to have the illness.

Although the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that about one in 133 people has Celiac disease, consumer research firm NPD recently reported that about 28 percent of adults aged 18 and older are avoiding gluten.

Chain restaurants have responded to this consumer demand by offering more gluten-free items. Last month, Dunkin’ Donuts introduced a doughnut and muffin that don’t contain gluten. Domino’s, Chevys Fresh Mex, Noodles & Company and P.F. Chang’s China Bistro also offer gluten-free items.

Nationally, according to GrubHub, more than 4 percent of all takeout restaurants offer at least one gluten-free menu item.

Pizza is the most frequently ordered gluten-free item, according to GrubHub, followed by sandwiches and salad.

Contact Bret Thorn: bret.thorn@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter at @foodwriterdiary