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Carb Your Enthusiasm

Here's the skinny on how to tap into the hot low-carb market.

This story appears in the April 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

No question about it, low-carb diets have taken over the collective consciousness and the U.S. food industry. Whether it's Atkins or carbohydrate-restrictive diets that boast an effective weight-loss alternative to traditional low-fat, carb-rich plans, consumers eager to shed fat are flooding the marketplace in search of low-carb products. With an estimated 1 in 4 Americans on some low-carb diet and 17 million with diabetes, entrepreneurs have found a new health haven.

While major fast-food and casual-dining restaurants have scrambled to jump on the low-carb bandwagon, entrepreneurs took off running long before big corporations even made a move. Gerry Morrison, 41, and Jeff Greder, 40, started Carbolite Foods Inc., offering the first low-carb, sugar-free soft-serve ice cream in 1999, when low-fat diets were still the rage. Recognizing a shift in the diet industry, they quickly expanded their Carborite line to focus on an array of low-carb products, including shakes, bread mixes, candy bars and cookies. And they've watched revenues from their Evansville, Indiana, company skyrocket from $800,000 in 1999 to a projected $150 million for 2004.

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