Bankrupt diet company Atkins Nutritionals Inc has announced that it is transforming itself into a “nutrition food company,” after receiving approval from a New York court for its disclosure statement.

“The company’s lenders and unsecured creditors support the restructuring and a confirmation hearing has been scheduled for December 21, 2005 to confirm ANI’s plan of reorganization,” it said.

“We are pleased to have quickly reached this milestone and with such strong support from our major customers, suppliers and lenders,” said Mark S Rodriguez, president and CEO of ANI. “This event is another key achievement in ANI’s restructuring process, which will conclude in the weeks ahead. We expect to have the plan confirmed by the end of 2005, and subsequently emerge from bankruptcy as a stronger, faster and more flexible company.”

A new ANI management team has implemented a fundamental change in strategy to dramatically improve ANI’s financial performance. ANI has transitioned into a functional food marketer — offering great-tasting, nutritionally superior Atkins Advantage bars and ready-to-drink shakes to the broad adult population of active men and women seeking to improve their overall health and wellness, it said. This is a shift from ANI’s previous strategy of educating consumers about the benefits of a controlled-carbohydrate diet.

To support its new focus on portable, convenient and nutritious food products, ANI has optimized its supply chain, simplified its business systems and is strengthening its consumer and customer relationships. In the past six months, ANI has streamlined its offerings to focus on the successful Atkins Advantage line of nutrition bars and shakes, which are packed with essential nutrients — high protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals, low sugar and no trans fats. ANI has also improved the taste, freshness and overall quality of its products.

“The new Atkins Advantage line represents an uncompromising commitment to quality, nutrition and taste, and will be embraced by consumers making smart food choices,” continued Rodriguez. “Our new line of Advantage Caramel Cookie Dough Bars and Caramel Fudge Brownie Bars is simply the first example of this new mission.”

To educate the public about its change in strategy, ANI is investing in new marketing communications to raise awareness that Atkins Advantage products have a taste and nutrition advantage. Last month it released a newly designed website to make consumers more aware of how to choose foods more wisely. New Advantage packaging with a fresh, modern look designed to highlight the products nutrition and taste benefits will be on retail shelves by January 2006. In addition, a new advertising campaign will launch in the first quarter of 2006.