Low carb bakery boom cannot last

Related tags Low-carbohydrate diet Carbohydrate Nutrition

Low carbohydrate bakery products have become common place in the
US, but competition is about to get tougher as the growth surge
slows, according to a new report from Euromonitor International.

The report entitled Health and Wellness Foods in the USA shows that growth in reduced or "low carb" bakery products surged between 2003 and 2004, with a growth rate of nearly 84 percent. During this period, low carb biscuits and cereals were the key market drivers, with growth rates of 310 percent and 110 percent, respectively.

Brand extensions to include low-carb alternatives have from late 2003 onwards, according to the report, led this growth.

For example, in July 2004, Kellogg launched a Special K cereal for a Low Carb Lifestyle, while its subsidiary Keebler introduced Keebler Chips Deluxe Carb Sensible Cookies. At the same time, Kraft Foods launched the CarbWell range, a line of low carb versions of popular brands like Post breakfast cereal and Snack Wells biscuits.

As well as the big names, Euromonitor notes that a number of speciality brands have emerged. At the head of the pack, perhaps not surprisingly, is Atkins Nutritionals that now manufactures bakery products including breakfast cereals, wraps and bagels.

The report notes, moreover, that while many Americans have rejected a specific low-carb diet such as Atkins or South Beach, many US consumers have moved away from a traditional carbohydrate-rich diet and changed the way they think about healthy eating. Recent figures from Morgan Stanley showed low-carb diets in the US declined by two per cent in first half of 2004.

Euromonitor backs up this trend by this trend by saying that volume sales of traditional bakery products have remained stagnant since 2001, with a yearly growth of only 0.3 percent.

Furthermore, the report says this trend is set to continue, but the rate of growth will fall off. Euromonitor forecasts growth in low-carb bakery to fall to a yearly average of 4.6 percent between 2004-2009, a significant decline from its recent boom.

Despite a decline in SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) of no- or low-carb foods and drinks across the US, decreasing from 633 SKUs in June, to 306 in July and 209 in August, this year has still seen the launch of a record number of low- and no-carb products, according to Productscan Online.

A mere 3.8 per cent of new food and beverage launches in the US in 2003 were no- or low-carb products (compared to a paltry 2.1 percent the year before). This year, the figure has jumped to a whopping 17.9 percent, meaning that 2585 products were placed on the supermarket shelves this year in comparison with 633 in 2003.

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