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Consumer Lifestyle Analysis From A “World Perspective,” By Harvey Hartman & The Hartman Group
Low-carb diets such as the Atkins diet have received widespread attention in the popular media. Articles in Time, The Wall Street Journal and USAToday simultaneously exalt and denounce its apparent popularity as well as its impact on everything from specialty retail stores and beef jerky sales to its effect on the American marriage and mainstream culture.

Despite the recent high-profile press surrounding low-carb diets, we at The Hartman Group believe that a central question remains: are they simply a passing fad or a major lifestyle trend? There is uncertainty surrounding exactly how many Americans are on the low-carb diet. One widely cited study suggested that an astounding 12% of the adult population have tried the Atkins diet. High estimates such as this have been treated with some skepticism, however, and for good reason. We believe they are overestimates of actual dieters, most notably because they fail to clearly differentiate between dieting fads and wider trends associated with the typical eating habits of most American consumers. Many studies fail to make this distinction because they obscure rather than answer several fundamental questions.

In a new study, the Hartman Group has reached ten low-carb-related conclusions:

    1. When it comes to low-carb diets, the majority of adult U.S. consumers (67%) can be classified as “Moderates.” These are people whose typical eating habits reflect a low-carb diet— but they may not know it.

    2. Most consumers who intentionally adopt a low-carb diet plan will do so for weight-reduction purposes and can be expected to discontinue and/or “fall off” the plan within three months.

    3. Only 1% of all consumers can be expected to become “Long-termers,” or those who intentionally and permanently adopt a low-carb diet ( and this is most likely an overestimate).

    4. Low-carb diet trends are often based on consumers restricting or eliminating certain food categories rather than adding or substituting new types of food products.

    5. Snack food products may have the most market potential with respect to low-carb diets.

    6. The likelihood of being on a low-carb diet has little or no affect on the frequency of eating out.

    7. The “moderation perspective”—or defining one’s personal eating habits in terms of moderation, balance and variety—is the key towards understanding how most consumers define their eating habits and think about low-carb diets.

    8. Most consumers view formal low-carb diet plans with a high degree of skepticism.

    9. While we believe the low-carb diet is a short-lived fad, it is also an indicator of a wider trend regarding the eating habits of Americans in general.

    10. Obesity is an underlying issue.
KC's View:
For more information about this new Hartman Group study - which offers consumer perspectives that can have an enormous impact on business, contact Joelle Chizmar at the Hartman Group, at