Restaurant Chains, Too, Watch Their Carbs
FOR many Americans, a new year means a diet, and in 2004, there is a good
chance that it's a low-carbohydrate, high-protein one. More than 10
million people are following a low-carb regimen like the Atkins diet, the
Zone or the South Beach diet, according to the NPD Group, a market
research company in Chicago.
The high-protein crowd received an unexpected scare with the recent
announcement that a cow in the United States was found to have mad cow
disease. Depending on the extent of the problem, diets that encourage the
consumption of red meat could become less popular. Seventy percent of
Americans are expressing some concern about mad cow disease, according to
a survey on food safety conducted in late December by NPD, which has been
tracking food trends since 1980.
"There is clearly great concern about this, but as for a change in
behavior, I think that depends on how many cows get sick," said Harry
Balzer, vice president of NPD. "If the bovine bonfires of Great Britain
come to the United States, you'll see a significant drop in meat
consumption. But if it is like Canada with only one cow, I don't think it
will have a major impact."