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On the Rise

Bread businesses are making a post-Atkins comeback.

This story appears in the July 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The low-carb fad is slowing down from its once white-hot streak,and everyone from diet dabblers to the low-carb hard-liners--myselfincluded--are now sneaking their hands back into the carb jar for ataste of the forbidden fruit--or maybe just a piece of bread. InFebruary, the Grain Foods Foundation launched a public educationcampaign, Grains for Life, in an effort to extol the manynutritional virtues of breads and grains. With that PR boost, thebread industry seems poised to counterattack the low-carb blow. Asbread businesses ready themselves for a comeback, entrepreneurs areright there at the front lines.

Wendy Born and James Barrett say no to vendors offering low-carbflour to Metropolitan Bakery, their Philadelphia business. Theowners of the artisanal bakery decided education would be the besttool to battle against the 15 percent drop in sales theyexperienced during the Atkins craze. Says Born, "We havefliers to explain what our breads are, the differences betweenwhole grain and white flour, and how bread is burned in thebody." Training their staff to discuss the merits of bread hashelped customers who may have shunned bread to see the good inwhole grains. Since then, Born, 53, and Barrett, 42, haveexperienced an enormous boost in sales of multigrain bread, wholewheat bread and cracked wheat sourdough bread--they project 2005sales of $3 million for their four stores.

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