Food Industry Shakeup

Fortune has a good article about the effect the Atkins movement is having on the food industry.

The Atkins effect goes far beyond meat, influencing much of the $587 billion food industry. Sixteen years after the Surgeon General made fat public enemy No. 1, the American consumer—fatter than ever in a low-fat world—has turned a bilious eye on foods like bread and pasta. The response has been leavened with panic. The American Italian Pasta Co. has launched a low-carb pasta under the Atkins brand, and at the same time its CEO, Tim Webster, president of the National Pasta Association, plans a conference in Rome to position regular pasta as a "good"carb.

In contrast, purveyors of protein are cleaning up. Sales of carb-free MacNut oil, made from Australian macadamia nuts, have doubled every quarter since its January 2003 launch. The stock of Cal-Maine Foods, the leading U.S. fresh-egg producer, was up over 800% last year. The cheddar makers at Cabot in Vermont just had their best year ever. And "beef is back in vogue," says C. Larry Pope, COO of pork and beef processor Smithfield Foods.

It is strange that at the same time we have seen growth by companies like Panera and Atlanta Bread Company. It will be interesting to see how major bread companies will respond to this trend.

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