Despite the manic hype surrounding the diet that shed many pounds (and gained many dollars) for the late Dr Robert Atkins, the US company exploiting his nutritional theories has yet to make any headway with the UK’s larger retail chains.

Atkins Nutritional, the company marketing a Doc-branded high-fat, low-carbohydrate food and drink range, aims to launch in Britain early next year. But retailers are said to be leery, especially in the light of recent reports of suspected side-effects – such as death.

J Sainsbury, Britain's second largest supermarketeer, has no plans to stock the range, according to a spokeswoman; while the 1422-outlet pharmacy and health chain Boots said it had not yet decided whether to stock it.

Even Atkins Nutritional was reticent about its prospects, claiming that distribution negotiations are “at a sensitive stage” and declined further comment.

Nonetheless, the Atkins phenomenon has had an adverse effect on at least one major force in food marketing. Unilever recently reported that the diet fad had hit sales of its SlimFast product range [WAMN: 24-Jun-03].

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff