When you hear Atkins, you probably immediately think “low-carb diet.” Most of us recall that name being synonymous with the fad of high-protein diets in the early 2000s. Now, the Atkins brand is resurfacing with a refreshed image and an attempt to break free of its previously held stereotypes.
A recent article in Advertising Age discussed the shifts in power at the diet food company and spoke with the current Chief Marketing Officer, Scott Parker. In addition to offering free online tools and selling Atkins brand foods in the grocery stores, Atkins is working to rework their image. Parker told Advertising Age that the company went off track several years ago and many lost sight of what the plan was really about.
“The diet fundamentally teaches you to eat a balanced menu, it never did tell you to eat nothing but bacon and eggs,” he said. “But that is what word-of-mouth became and people literally were doing their own makeshift diet and they didn’t have a very good experience because they didn’t do it correctly.”
They’ll be working hard to get their name out there, as the report stated Atkins Nutritionals, which did not return comment in time for publication, will be increasing their spending by 50 percent this year. This rebranding will take place as many similar diets have really hit the mainstream and one can assume Atkins wants to get a piece of that consumer pie.
Mary Hartley, RD, MPH, contributing nutritionist to DietsInReview.com, shared some of her thoughts about this new press, explaining that Atkins is just one of the many diets that includes eating patterns that are low in carbohydrates as a percentage of total calories. Among those diets are South Beach, Zone Diet, Dukan Diet, Sugar Busters, Paleo/Caveman, and others.
She sees the niche Atkins is trying to capitalize on, with the country being made more aware of its sugar intake and leaning more toward a high protein trend with the rise in Paleo popularity. Dieters are ditching grains once more and there’s never been a better time for a notorious low-carb (read: low grain) plan to pop up once more. However, Hartley feels this is just another phase that will pass.
“Atkins, maker of low-carb shakes, snack bars and frozen meals (and free online diets tools), suffered because diet fads fade. The bottom line is that there are many ways to eat a balanced diet.”
While the Atkins model can yield weight loss, Hartley says that it really only results when one’s calorie intake is maintained and that can be accomplished just as well with a higher carbohydrate diet as well.
Atkins will be offering more products, even including branded candy in time for Halloween. Atkins may be the easy fit for someone who wants the take some of the guesswork out of dieting. Will they profit? Maybe. Will they be around in 10 years? Staying power is the true test for any diet brand.