The Low Carb Craze Is Over
fast things can change. Research firms estimated that the number of low-carb
dieters peaked at 9% of all adults in February 2004, and fell to just 2.2%
by mid-2005. Atkins Nutritionals laid off hundreds of employees and reported
a net loss of $340 million in 2004. At one point, things were so bad that
unsold food products had to be donated to charity.
On Jan. 10, 2006, Atkins
Nutritionals announced that it had emerged from bankruptcy. The company
completed its Chapter 11 reorganization and has introduced a new business
strategy that focuses on providing portable foods with a nutrition advantage
to healthy, active men and women. This
is a distinct shift from its pre-bankruptcy strategy of educating the
population about the benefits of controlled carbohydrate nutrition.
Atkins Nutritionals, created in 1997, is a privately held company. At its peak, it had revenues estimated at more than $200 million.
Apparently, charging outrageous prices for its low-carb products, with high
profit margins, wasn't enough. The company that parlayed the low-carb trend
into a national frenzy filed for bankruptcy court protection on July 31,
Under the new approach of
“controlled carbs, as opposed to low-carb, and a lot more focus on the glycemic
index, the company has a much smaller target market, people concerned with
healthy eating, ones with medical conditions such as diabetes and heart
problems, and wellness in general.
has adjusted its organization to accommodate a smaller business and will
broaden it focus to health and wellness. After it emerged from bankruptcy,
the Long Island, NY-based firm now focuses on nutrition bars and shakes
According to MSNBC, the low-carb diet became one of the most popular
in U.S. history. But, it also was heavily criticized by experts for its
focus on fatty foods and low fruit and vegetable consumption. Atkins owed
$300 million in outstanding debts.
The company’s product line
ballooned to 120+ and Atkins low-carb products began appearing in supermarkets
and grocery stores, as well as via “Atkins Certified Retailers”. What seemed
like another “fad diet” became much more mainstream and longer lasting than most
had imagined. Low-carb eating truly became an international phenomenon,
affecting bakeries and growers of rice and potatoes in the United States and
worldwide. In addition, most of the large weight loss commercial chains such as
Weight Watchers saw their enrollments substantially decline. This trend lasted
almost two years—an eternity in the weight loss product life cycle.
As the low-carb frenzy has died down, enrollments and
business at commercial weight loss c...