Diets, such as the 5:2, High Protein, Dukan or Atkinsons, promote consuming low levels of carbohydrates when trying to lose weight. These diets were fashionable for a time, eventually peaking in 2004 but they are experiencing a resurgence in Europe, according to new research from Mintel.
The research demonstrates that new low carb food and drink product launches have doubled in the last five years in Europe. Most of the new products are traditionally associated with high levels of carbohydrates, for example, in 2013 ten per cent of these were pasta, ten per cent were baking ingredients and nine per cent were bread.
Laura Jones, food science analyst at Mintel, said: “Low carb diets were made famous with the advent of the Atkins diet, which reached its peak in popularity in 2004. Since then the number of followers of the diet has dropped off and a decline in the launch of low carb food and drink products has been witnessed globally.
“As recent launch of low carb options across Europe started to include a wider range of products normally associated with carbohydrates, this is said to be one of the drivers behind the recent resurgence in the launch of low carb food and drink products across Europe.”
Low carb food isn’t the only returning trend, high protein is also making a comeback. Many new product launches in Europe appear to carry a low carb and high protein claim, seeing a growth of 57 per cent between 2008 and 2013.
High protein alone is also promoting product innovation, new launches for food and drink with a high protein claim have tripled over the past five years in Europe. The growth appears to have been driven by snacks, yoghurts and ready meals.
In Europe, out of the new products making a high protein claim 24 per cent were snacks, 20 per cent were dairy and 15 per cent were processed fish, meat and egg products.
Ms Jones added: “Low carb products still occupy a relative niche position in the market and although they will never appeal to all consumers, the recent launches of low carb products in Europe are attempting to widen their appeal.”