Only recently has a wider range of prepared new low-carb food lines appeared, including 40 lines launched by Tesco covering a wide spectrum of fresh and prepared categories at everyday price points. But early Atkins/low-carb products were criticised by consumers for premium prices and poor product delivery.
Many respondents are confused as to what to expect. Only a minority seem to understand how to interpret the units of net carbs quoted, and many are irritated to find many of the products are high in fat.
Those who understand the Atkins diet claim that they are unlikely to buy into prepared foods. Others, less rigorous, often looking for easy debits and credits in their diet, fail to see any benefits in low-carb everyday foods, dismissing them as “gimmick”.
Consumers said texture and consistency in low-carb products became lighter, runnier, with a more acid, even chemical, taste. Low-carb confectionery was described as “bitter, cheap chocolate”.
Unsure how a quiche could successfully be adapted to offer a low-carb benefit, respondents looked for problems. They found a soft filling that “hadn’t quite set” and left an aftertaste.
Any initial interest was stimulated more by the low price of this yoghurt. Tasting confirmed expectations that flavour and texture might be compromised by the reduction in carbohydrates.
Reducing the carb levels appeared to have a devastating impact on the quality of the chocolate, variously criticised as “bitter” and “cheap tasting”. Add a premium price and only the devoted low-carb dieter was tempted.
Under fire: a poor taste that comes with a premium price tag
Put to the test: three recent launches (maximum score 50)Tesco Carb Control - Bacon & Cheese Quiche Score: 21 Category average: 33
Tesco Carb Control Strawberry Yoghurt Score: 30 Category average: 40
Kit Kat Low Carb Score: 18 Category average: 42
Produced for The Grocer by Cambridge Fast Foodfax, an independent standardised new product testing service where a sample of 50 consumers rate new products across 10 key performance measures. Maximum score 50. Details on www.fast-foodfax.com.