Anglo-Dutch consumer products giant Unilever has said it has launched a line of low-carb products in order to take advantage of the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets.

“We are launching this on the US market, and it depends on the results whether we will also take this to other markets,” Unilever spokesman Tom Gordijn was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The new range of 18 products, called Carb Options, includes sauces, marinades, salad dressings, peanut spreads and shakes. The products will be launched under some of the company’s existing brand names, such as Ragu, Skippy, Wish-Bone and Lipton, Reuters reported.

“In the US an estimated 30 to 50 million people are on such diets, and the total market for low-carb products in 2005 is estimated at US$1.0bn,” Gordijn said.

Sales of Unilever’s Slim Fast products have suffered in recent months, as consumers rejected low-fat, low-calorie diets in favour of low-carbohydrate diets, such as the Atkins plan.