Convenience stores could be missing out on a fortune in potential gluten-free business, Coeliac UK has highlighted.

It has launched a campaign to raise awareness, encouraging businesses to “join the gluten freevolution”.

Coeliac UK says going gluten free is good for business and it has created new guidance called Catering gluten free: how to get it right.

Coeliac disease is an underdiagnosed lifelong autoimmune disease caused by a reaction of the immune system to gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye.

Gluten damages the lining of the small intestine in the approximately one in a hundred people who suffer from the disease.

The Association of Convenience Stores’ Assured Advice guidance, Managing Food Safety and Hygiene lists retailers’ responsibilities when handling and serving foods that contain allergenic ingredients.

However, gluten-free diets have become a lifestyle choice for many rather than a necessity.

Harvard scientists have warned that avoiding dietary gluten could see the general population miss out on the necessary whole grains associated with cardiovascular benefits.

The researchers, in an article published in thebmj, said gluten-free diets should not be encouraged among those not suffering from the disease.