Food manufacturers who have stocked store shelves with low-carbohydrate versions of everything from spaghetti sauce to ice cream may find they are eating the costs themselves, as the low-carb fad peaks, analysts and industry observers said.
Sales of low-carb branded foods were up $815 million to $1.13 billion in the 12 months ended June 13, according to market research firm Information Resources Inc. That includes both new brands like Atkins and Carb Solutions and extensions of existing brands - like Unilever's Carb Options versions of Skippy peanut butter and Lipton soups.
But the number of people in the United States who say they are on low-carb diets like Atkins peaked in January at 9 percent, in a survey conducted by the NPD Group. It has since leveled off at about 7 percent.
Some of the newer low-carb products could also be repackaged to take advantage of the next big trend in food, Harris said, noting that some consumers are starting to focus more specifically on sugar than on overall carbohydrates.
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