United States Specialty Diet Index

United States Specialty Diet Index

3 minute read time

With changing diets and increasingly complex dietary requirements, finding a supermarket in your local area that’s right for you can be difficult. A great range of speciality food and drink products can make a huge difference to your ability to find the best products for your diet.

We estimate that around 149 million Americans suffer from at least one food sensitivity and the number of Americans switching to a vegan, organic or dairy-free diet is rising in huge numbers every year.

In early 2021, YorkTest set out to discover which popular US grocery stores were best suited for those with a special diet, by analyzing product listings to see how many gluten-free, lactose-free, dairy-free, organic, vegan, and sugar-free products they offer.

Using this analysis, we have now been able to show which state is the best to live if you have a speciality diet. Using the locations of each of the five best grocery stores for speciality products, Safeways, Kroger, Albertsons, Whole Foods, and Publix, we have shown which state has the most stores per capita, and therefore is the best place to live.

Montana is the best state to live for special diets generally

The Treasure State may be the seventh least populous state, but Montanans benefit from the highest number of speciality diet-friendly grocery stores per capita, beating Oregon, Washington and Wyoming to top spot.

Boasting nine Safeways, 29 Albertsons, one Whole Foods, and four Krogers, its relatively small population can avoid the crowds when shopping for food sensitivity-friendly products.

Florida is the best state to live if you have a gluten-free diet

The FDA estimates that as many as three million Americans have celiac disease, although many more are switching to gluten-free diets as a result of a sensitivity.

The Sunshine State performs very well for a gluten-free diet, in part thanks to the 817 Publix stores which are spread across the third-most populous state. An impressive 14.52% of products in Publix stores are suitable for those with a gluten sensitivity.

Despite also being the home to 33 Whole Foods, just 1.02% of products are gluten-free, so the presence of these grocery stores had little bearing on the index.

Montana leads the way for vegan, organic, dairy-free and sugar-free diets

Unsurprisingly, the highest performing overall state for speciality grocery stores is the best place to live for those shopping for a vegan, organic, dairy-free or sugar-free diet.

According to Ipsos, the number of Americans turning plant-based has reached 9.7 million people, growing from around 290,000 over a period of 15 years. Safeway stores performed strongest in the number of vegan options with 3.5% of products available to those on a vegan diet.

Organic food popularity has also grown significantly in recent years. Statista found that 34% of Americans had purchased more organic food in 2020 than in the previous year. An impressive 26.42% of Whole Foods products are organic.


The United States Speciality Diet Index is derived by calculating the number of grocery stores with strong offerings for specific diets per capita for each state in the US. The rankings for each diet were created by ranking the best performing grocery stores for gluten-free, vegan, organic, dairy-free and sugar-free diets to create a weighted index.

Population data was sourced from the United States Census Bureau.


Talk to one of our team

    How should we contact you?


    Related Articles