A major success story in the low-carb market has been Michelob Ultra, which Anheuser-Busch launched in the UK in 2003 following huge success in the US.
According to figures from TNS [Superpanel 52 w/e February 27, 2005] beer and lager is the second biggest market for low-carb products, with a 10% market share. Much of this value can be attributed to Michelob Ultra, which remains the only major lager brand to have entered the UK low-carb category.
Jim Gorczyca, UK marketing director at Anheuser-Busch, says sales of Michelob Ultra for the first 14 weeks of 2005 were up 50% on the previous year. The company is expanding distribution, entering Somerfield for the first time in March, quashing any notion that low carb has hit its peak in the UK. This year,
Michelob Ultra has stepped up its marketing activity, with a TV campaign running since January. An outdoor promotional campaign targeting 25 to 45-year-old men is also planned.
Gorczyca says the brand continues to buck the trend in the US, where low carb has experienced slowing sales.