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Fat Chance

The skinny on marketing bad-for-you foods

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This story appears in the April 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

If you're an entrepreneur hoping to live off the fat of the land, your time has come. Even as The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that obesity affects 20 percent of the American adult population, consumers appear to be embracing fatty, high-calorie foods like never before. Most of the evidence of this trend is anecdotal; some of it is downright amusing: Taquitos.net, a potato chip portal that offers snack reviews, gets 200,000 hits a month. Says its creator, Jeremy Selwyn, 32: "There's more interest in salty foods than I ever would have thought."

Not to mention sugar. How else can you explain Christopher Sell's success? Sell not only owns the ChipShop, a fish-and-chips eatery in Brooklyn, but he also created the infamous deep-fried Twinkie. "We put it on the menu more for the shock value than anything else," admits Sell, 37, whose restaurant brings in $1.3 million annually and is working toward franchising. "It's more of a talking point, but it has caught on." State fairs have begun selling the Twinkie, and Sell's restaurant has received national attention for creating the concoction.

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