Whatever misgivings some companies may have about the longevity of the low-carb trend, 2004 was a record year for no- and low-carb product launches.
The diet fad led to food companies introducing 3,375 new low- and no-carbohydrate products in the USA in 2004, according to Datamonitor's Productscan Online .
This figure is a huge increase on that of previous years. In 2003, 633 new products launched in America were classed as no- or low-carb, or 3.8 percent of all new foods launched. This figure lay at 2.1 percent the year before.
Notwithstanding such news, Reuters reported earlier this week that US weight loss companies are proclaiming an end to the low-carb trend and planning a marketing blitz aimed at winning over consumers wanting to make 2005 the year they shed those extra pounds.
Reuters cited traditional diet companies such as Weight Watchers International and Jenny Craig as confident they can win back punters this year, noting that Weight Watchers shares have gained nearly 16 percent in the last two months, "partly in anticipation of an improved outlook".
Early signals this year seem to suggest that after several years of trendy diets - like Atkins and the South Beach - gaining popularity there is a growing move back towards more balanced, healthy eating.
Nonetheless, Atkins Nutritional recently denied there was any evidence to suggest the diet was on the way out of favor and refused to see Atkins as a fad.
"It's difficult to understand why supposed experts seem compelled to label Atkins as a fad diet. Not many fad diets have the backing of 38 independent scientific studies supporting its safety and effectiveness at controlling weight and reducing risk factors for serious health problems such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Fad diets will fade away, but people have been succeeding on Atkins for more than three decades," said Colette Heimowitz, vice president of education and research at Atkins health and medical information services.
With this in mind, the company expects sales of its products to surge in the first quarter of the new year as people make their annual resolutions to lose weight, and see no reason why this growth will not continue throughout 2005.
"We are confident the large number of individuals following a controlled-carb lifestyle and those that are simply carb-conscious will likely fuel the purchase of low-carb products in 2005," said Matt Wiant, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Atkins.