A study by NPD Group, an independent marketing information company, found that the percentage of American adults on any low-carb diet in 2004 peaked at 9.1 percent in February and dropped to 4.9 percent by early November.
That means many companies that rode the low-carb wave are either out of business or refocusing their strategies.
MGP Ingredients Inc. of Atchison, Kan., which profited from the low-carb trend, earlier this month cut its fiscal 2005 per-share earnings forecast by more than half — from $1.08 to no more than 50 cents.
The reason is reduced demand for its specialty proteins and starches used to remove carbohydrates from foods. MGP said low-carb demand had peaked, and it did not expect it to return to anywhere near the level that sparked a 123 percent increase in sales in the third quarter of fiscal 2004.