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January Designated 'Low Carb Month'

NORTHBROOK, Ill. - Retailers have a new month of recognition to add to their merchandising calendars, as the Low Carb Manufacturers Alliance (LCMA) kicks off its first-ever "Low Carb Month" promotion in January 2005.

"January is the traditional month when people make New Year's resolutions, so they'll have diets on their minds. And that's the real message behind low-carb products -- to achieve more healthful lifestyles," Iris Shaffer, LCMA's executive director, told Progressive Grocer.

While the association is still in talks with retailers and manufacturers concerning promotional ideas, according to Shaffer, a recent promotion at 50 Roundy's stores in Wisconsin had excellent response. Low-carb products were highlighted, while dietitians and nutritionists were on hand to answer questions.

When asked whether the low-carb trend may turn out to be a fad, Shaffer said: "There has to be some sort of shakeout. There's no way to keep up the media attention that has surrounded low-carb foods. But the fact remains that products containing less refined sugar, trans fats, white flour, and corn syrup will continue to interest consumers in light of health concerns."

In addition, when the U.S. Food and Drug administration comes out with regulations for labeling low-carb products, education will become even more important, Shaffer said. "That will open up a whole new need for consumer education."

Retailers with the best promotions will be honored at the LCMA's Low Carb Leader Awards during January 2005. The awards will be presented at the LCMA's second annual conference, scheduled for April 2005.
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