When Unilever PLC, the British food giant that owns Slim-Fast Foods, announced in July that U.S. profits had dropped 23 percent, it quickly pointed an accusing finger at the Atkins diet, the trendy weight-loss plan high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Atkins, Unilever?s chairman explained, has set off shock waves in consumption that have cut Slim-Fast?s profits, and there?s no way to fight a fad.
Atkins-friendly foods, on the other hand, are booming. News reports have credited Atkins for an increase in U.S. beef sales in 12 of the past 14 quarters. Prices on cattle futures have climbed from 65 cents per pound in 2001 to 82 cents per pound today (suggesting the beef market has grown by $3 billion in 3 years). Consumption of bacon and eggs are at 10-year highs. Beef jerky sales are up more than 40 percent in the past two years, and pork-rinds have tripled their market share to $496 million per year.
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