Atkins Nutritionals gets through bankruptcy, restructures business model
When the announcement was made by Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. on August 1, 2005 that they were filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, much of the media and "experts" in the field of health and nutrition erupted into some sort of orgasmic state of euphoria as if they had just taken down the greatest enemy on the face of the planet. And in their eyes, they had.
The namesake company for the greatest and most popular diet program to ever be introduced to the world had fallen on tough times. The very company that had ignited the whole "low-carb craze" by introducing hundreds of products to help people on their low-carb lifestyle learned an invaluable lesson in economics -- when you saturate the market with products the consumer rejects, then you cannot expect to remain a thriving and profitable business.
More than anything, that is what the bankruptcy was REALLY about. It was ONE company that made some bad business decisions that costs them hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. Nothing more, nothing less.
And yet we still have stories like this one from The Associated Press today which declare that Atkins Nutritionals endured the bankruptcy, but is now backing away from the very low-carb lifestyle that was the life's work of Dr. Robert C. Atkins.
Say what? That's wishful thinking from the AP and they know it! Why would Atkins Nutritionals stop helping people who are livin' la vida low-carb continue to lose weight and keep it off? The fact is that they are not.
Although a quick perusal of the Atkins.com web site displays a fresh new look that looks like there is less content than before, it is still an excellent informational source for people wanting to learn more about this healthy lifestyle. Check out this page with LOADS of info about low-carb living.
Instead of backing away from low-carb, as the AP suggests in their article, what Atkins Nutritionals has done is scale back their product line to the best of the best -- The Atkins Advantage bars, the Morning Start bars, the Atkins shakes, and the Endulge chocolate bars. This product line is the cream of the crop for Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. as other companies have stepped forward to provide quality versions of many of the former products Atkins used to carry. These other companies are making products that are sometimes better. A LOT better.
Nevertheless, the remaining line of products offered by Atkins Nutritionals are STILL low-carb, high-fiber, and high-protein, just as they have been for nearly a decade since they were first introduced.
Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. still has debt, but will only have to repay about a third of what they owed when they began bankruptcy proceedings five months ago. While there are a lot fewer people employed by Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. now, I am confident that they are poised to continue providing the low-carb consumer with products to assist them as they lose and maintain their weight -- the Atkins way, which is livin' la vida low-carb!
My personal thoughts about what happened with Atkins Nutritionals is that they got greedy and put all of their eggs in the Wal-mart basket. I'm sure the bigwig executives at Atkins Nutritionals two years ago were chomping at the bit to pump out truckloads of their products to Wally-world so they could bring in the big bucks while they virtually ignored the faithful mom & pop low-carb shops who were the backbone of their early success. And where'd that get them? Bankruptcy. Negative press. The laughing stock of the media and health professionals.
So now what's going to happen to them in 2006? Can Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. emerge stronger out of this experience? I think they can. But they need to remember who and what they stand for. Dr. Atkins was a man before his time, a true visionary. He knew his life's work was important enough to invest many hours of time and energy into helping people achieve lasting weight loss. He obviously found great joy during his life in helping people reach this breakthrough moment in their lives, as his widow Veronica Atkins recently revealed in an interview about her late husband.
My weight loss success is owed almost entirely to that tireless dedication from Dr. Atkins himself and I regret that I never got to meet the man behind the miracle diet that saved my life. But I can confidently say that the spirit of Dr. Atkins lives on inside of me today as I continue to talk about those things that he once woke up excited about on a daily basis. It drove who he was then and now it drives who I am today. I will not stop talking about how the low-carb lifestyle has changed me and neither should you if you are a dedicated follower of this amazing way of eating.
While the press will continue to describe the low-carb lifestyle as eating "foods like meat and eggs over bread and fruit," we know the truth is that livin' la vida low-carb is so much more than that. It's a healthy way of life for the millions of us who could not imagine eating any other way. Whether Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. is here tomorrow or not, low-carb will continue to roar on!