- Just over one in 10 Americans were aware of "hidden sugars" consumed through carbohydrates, according to a study conducted by Atkins Nutritionals.
- Millennials knew the least in the study, with just a third selecting correct nutrition components.
- On the heels of this study, Atkins is kicking off an educational effort called "The Hidden Sugar Effect." It includes a website, a virtual reality experience called the Atkins Sugar Goggles, and an education initiative in high schools through a partnership with HealthCorps.
Atkins has been a household name for generations, and this "hidden sugar" push is putting a modern spin on the nutritional company's message. In the early 2000s, many Americans followed the low-carbohydrate Atkins diet to lose extra weight — making "low-carb" a food buzzword. The Atkins diet works because when a person eats fewer carbohydrates, the body turns to its stored fats for energy.
While popularity of the Atkins diet has faded, the eating plan and its specially formulated food products never went away. And today, with consumers paying close attention to sugar content in products, it makes sense for Atkins to change its message to fit in with those concerns.
When a person eats carbohydrates, the body breaks them down into sugars, which then enter the blood stream and are used for energy. Atkins Nutritionals' new campaign uses that process to explain the impact of eating carbohydrates to today's consumer. The underlying message — too many carbs are detrimental to health — is largely the same as it was 15 years ago.
By speaking to today's consumers in language they understand (especially millennials, who were likely too young to grasp the concepts behind low-carb eating when the Atkins diet was in its heyday), Atkins is making a smart move to stay relevant. However, the more complex chemistry involved in converting carbohydrates to sugar may give the new campaign limited staying power.
This isn't the company's first move to dig deeper into the modern market. Last year, Atkins announced a partnership with mealkit company Chef'd to provide easier access to cook-at-home low-carb meals.