Is the Low Carb Craze Really Over?

Low-carb diets may be lacking the media attention they had a decade ago, but they are as popular as they were then and have a great impact on the restaurant and food industry.

And, it has been proven that restaurateurs and food manufacturers who ignore low-carb diets do so at their peril.

According to a recent online survey, a third of the population have some dietary restriction. Surprisingly, the most popular dietary restriction was low-carb diets- 18 percent of the sample that was surveyed cut down on carbohydrates.

The same survey found out that 18 percent of the respondents were on high-protein diets, nine percent are on gluten-free diets, while four percent were found to be on protein-heavy paleo diet. From the survey, it was deduced that a large percentage of the American population is cutting back on things such as bread and pasta.

From these findings, it is not difficult to see why those restaurants that serve low-carb diets succeed, while those that serve a lot of noodles, for instance, totter and crumble.

Italian chains which are reputed for their disdain of low-carb diets have been underperforming in their various markets. For example, Bravo Cucina Italiana experienced same-store sales fall by 3.9 in the fourth quarter of 2014. Its sister concept known as Brio Tuscan Grille experienced a 4.2 percent decline as well in the same period. Macaroni Grill reported a 2.8 percent plunge in same-store sales at the end of 2014. The prospects became so dire that its owner decided to sell the chain for $8 million.

After Noodles and Company performed dismally in 2014, they decided to introduce a low-carb diet to satisfy the low-carb crazed crowd.

When the restaurants disdaining low-carb diets are performing dismally, steak chains perform remarkably well in spite of high prices. For example, the Outback Steakhouse, Del Frisco’s Double Steak House, and Texas Roadhouse all reported strong performance in sales in their most recent quarters.

From what is happening in the restaurants, you can confidently conclude that the low-carb diet craze is still on and won’t be dying down any time soon. According to some pizza chains, low-carb diets don’t appear to be hurting at all.

What is more? Years of study have vindicated the efficacy of these diets. It has been discovered that these diets combined with a program for losing pounds help people to lose weight more quickly than the typical low-fat diet. Cutting out on carbohydrates has grown mainstream not the fad it was thought to be about a decade ago.

But even as the restaurant industry is marching to the the low-carb-beat, there are some who are questioning the wisdom of the strategy. They are wary that it might not be prudent to spend all the money and time on something that may disappear to oblivion just like many diets before it. Others also aver that low-carb items bring up many operational questions such as the ease of execution and the possible de-emphasis of some high-margin items such as French-fries.

However, all the companies interviewed so far concur that low-carb items sell more than carbohydrate based items. Thus, it is competent to say that the low-carb craze is here to stay and will not be dying down any time soon.



Learn more about the LCMA

Low Carb Manufacturers Alliance • P.O. Box 903 • Northbrook, IL 60065 • (847) 287-CARB • Iris Shaffer, Executive Director