Is the Low-Carb Craze Waning?
Survey Suggests Americans Tiring of Low-Carb Diets
WebMD News Archive
July 15, 2004 -- How low-carb can you go? Not much further, a
new marketing survey suggests.
Every day seems to bring another low-carb product to grocery
shelves. Low-carb beer is old hat. Low-carb colas fight for our soft drink
dollars. And who hasn't yet tried a low-carb candy bar?
More low-carb products are waiting in the wings. But their
makers may have missed the boat, says Lee Smith, president of InsightExpress,
an online research firm. A new study by InsightExpress shows that half of
Americans who've tried low-carb diets have given them up. Only one in 10 of us
are on low-carb diets, the survey shows. And the trend is down, not up.
"The peak of the low-carb trend may have happened,"
Smith tells WebMD. "The trend is for people to think they don't want to go
on a low-carb diet. They are starting not to purchase the low-carb products
that are entering the marketplace."
The low-carb craze has gone on for an unusually long time, says
Don Montuori, editor for Packaged Fact Reports at MarketResearch.com, a
market analysis company.
"Personally, I am shocked that the low-carb craze had such
legs," Montuori tells WebMD. "On the one hand, the idea you can eat all
the meat and eggs and cheese you want -- that is hard not to like. But no
cookies or bread? We are a wheat-loving country. Processed wheats are the carbs
we like to eat."
Carbs Fading From Consumer Radar?
The InsightExpress survey included a random sample of 500
people recruited over the Internet in a 48-hour period during early July 2004.
The survey has an error range of plus or minus 4%.
Which nutritional traits do consumers think is important?
According to the survey:
- 40% consider a food's total calorie content.
- 37% consider a food's total fat content.
- 32% consider a food's calories from fat.
- 31% consider a food's cholesterol content.
- 30% consider a food's total carbohydrate content.
- 29% consider a food's sodium content.
- 19% consider a food's protein content.
Four out of five Americans have never been on a low-carb diet,
the survey shows. Only one in five say they'd think about buying a low-carb
product. And fewer than a third of survey respondents say they'd be more likely
to buy a low-carb version of their favorite food.
"People have the perception that low-carb diets are not
healthy, or that these diets may not help them control their weight," Smith