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The Wall Street Journal reports on new ACNielsen data suggesting that the low carb category grew just six percent during the third quarter compared to the quarter before. While this doesn’t mean that the category is stalling, it is a significant drop-off from the 26 percent growth seen during the previous quarter, and it comes at a time when there is a glut of low-carb products on the marketplace.

Ironically, the ACNielsen figures come out as attorneys for Atkins Nutritionals – the commercial arm of the diet empire – sought to have a lawsuit against the company dismissed. The suit charges that the Atkins Diet does not warn consumers about potential risks to heart health associated with it, and has been filed by a man who saw his cholesterol skyrocket to the point that he needed an angioplasty while on the program.

A judge took the dismissal motion under advisement.
KC's View:
The slowdown was utterly predictable, if for no other reason than it was impossible for the low-carb category to maintain the kind of growth it had been experiencing. It was a matter of when, not if.

The real challenge to both retailers and manufacturers is not to be swept away by fads and crazes, but rather develop a more meaningful, measured approach to diet and nutrition. Of course, that may be asking for too much – since consumers rarely are measured in their responses to the latest dietary magic bullet.