The number of Americans on a low-carb diet has remained stable at 11 per cent of the US adult population (24 million adults), according to new data from Opinion Dynamics Corporation (ODC), a market research firm that specialises in the food service industry.
ODC has been tracking low-carb diet behaviour on a regular basis over the last several months. Each study consisted of an independent, nationwide telephone survey of 900 US adults using a random-digit-dial methodology. Each earlier study found between 11 and 12 per cent of the public saying that they were following a diet which restricted carbohydrates.
The good news for bakers and other manufacturers whose products have been categorised as 'high-carb is that while the number of low-carb dieters remained stable, the percentage of people who said they were merely making an effort to restrict their carbs dropped substantially over the past few months, according to the ODC study.
This group, called low-carb lifestyle consumers, decreased from 32 per cent in April to only 21 per cent, suggesting that the percentage of Americans who are casually watching their carbs is shrinking.
"The key take-away is that low-carb dieters are a stable group, and that opportunities exist for manufacturers, retailers and restaurants to serve them better," said Larry Shiman, a director at ODC. "But, opportunities are not unlimited and many of the smaller players will not survive. It's important for all businesses serving this segment to carefully consider costs versus opportunity before investing in the low-carb market."
So bakers who have not yet launched their own low-carb ranges to fight back against the diet fad should think seriously about investing in doing so - and should perhaps spend their money on new campaigns to bring former low-carb dieters back into the fold.
The research, which also focused on patterns of consumption of orange juice, pasta, potatoes, and eggs, found that consumers currently or formerly on low-carb diets make substantial changes to their diets, but those who claim to casually watch their carbs tend to make very few changes.