Food Industry Goes on Atkins Diet
Topic Market Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning
Key Words Psychographic Segmentation, Demographic Segmentation
InfoTrac Reference CJ114481386
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News Story 

Weight loss is a consumer hot spot these days. With the Atkins Diet sweeping the nation, food companies are rushing to fatten their bottom lines with a plethora of new lower-carb products based on the Atkins nutritional system. Consumers are expected to plunk down $30 billion for diet-driven products this year, and this money is being directed to low-carb menus.

In the first three months of 2004, an estimated 400 new products touting low-carbohydrate claims have shown up on grocery shelves. Some estimate that as many as 1000 low-carbohydrate products were launched in 2003.

The Atkins Diet, a nutritional system based on high-fat and low carbohydrate intake, is helping Americans shed pounds without giving up many of the foods they love. The concept is so successful that even Burger King, Subway, Michelob, and Sara Lee are producing "Atkins-friendly" versions of their products.

But now that low-carb foods are playing in the big leagues, they face big league competition. While the popularity of the Atkins diet has been a boon to beef producers, it has generally been a disaster for bakers, orange juice makers and processors of carbohydrate-heavy foods. Instead of cursing the Atkins name and accepting a sales swoon, many companies are fighting back with reduced-carb versions of their mainstream products.

Yet even with such a positive outlook for diet-related food products, industry analysts differ as to whether the trend can continue over the long term. All diets require discipline on the part of consumers, and some experts wonder if this diet craze will do better than the last well-intentioned weight-loss efforts.

(June, 2004)

Questions
1.

Which methods for segmenting consumer markets might be most useful for marketers looking to capitalize on the Atkins Diet craze?

2. According to the article, what might the future hold for the low-carb craze? Do you agree with that assessment?
Source Barbara Clements, "Low-Carb Food Craze Has Graduated to Lifestyle," Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News, March 21, 2004 pITEM04081004.
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