Brands withdraw variants as UK consumer excitement about all things Atkins abates in the face of GI onslaught, reports Beth Brooks

The nation’s short-lived affair with low-carb confectionery has reached an end as confectioners begin to ditch their offerings and the multiples de-list the products.
Not even 18 months after Nestlé Rowntree launched two low-carb versions of its big brand chocolates into the sector - KitKat and Rolo - the confectionery giant has scrapped the KitKat offering to replace it with a low-carb version of its premium brand Double Chocolate.
The bar was launched in May this year in a 38g format with an rsp of £1.29.
Graham Walker, sales communications manager at Nestlé Rowntree, says the company scrapped KitKat low carb because consumers wanted a luxury brand instead.
“Consumers who are into the low-carb lifestyle like the products as they have not had big branded products before in the low-carb market. They are real chocolate indulgent treats for consumers following the lifestyle. That’s why we launched our top indulgent brands Rolo and Double Chocolate.”
And he insists that the products are selling well.
“In the grand scheme of things the market is very small, and within this context we are doing fine. Both Rolo and Double Chocolate have exceeded expectations and are both in the top five low-carb confectionery products.”
Another casualty has been the low-carb offering of luxury Belgian chocolate specialist Guylian. Guylian made a surprise entry into the market last October by launching a low-carb milk chocolate bar. Even though the bar was a hit in the US, less than a year later it has been withdrawn from sale in the UK.
Kevin Toms, MD at Guylian UK, says: "Guylian tested the low-carb bar in Woolworths for a period of six months during 2004, but has decided not to progress with a full launch within the UK."
The multiples have also noticed a fall in popularity of low-carb confectionery.
A spokeswoman for Sainsbury says the supermarket does not stock any low-carb chocolate bars at the moment, while a confectionery buyer at Asda says that there has been a reduction in the range of low-carb confectionery that it sells in its stores and more of an emphasis on no added sugar or sugar-free products.
The buyer adds that Asda has seen a decline in the demand for low-carb confectionery and does not anticipate continuing to sell it in the long term.
Walker claims that low carb was never going to be a long-term category.
“Nestlé always said that while the opportunity was there and relevant and consumers were following the lifestyle then it was appropriate for us to offer the products.”