FACT: If you run a restaurant in Cape Town and don’t cater for people following a Prof Tim Noakes ‘Banting lifestyle’, you are not catering for at least 50% of your customers.

Recently we had lunch with the management of an exclusive wine estate restaurant who had an interesting story to share about how Prof Tim Noakes has affected what people are electing to eat at their establishment.

Last year at this time the restaurant was ordering 24kgs of flour a week to make their particularly tasty bread rolls, which are served complimentary in the restaurant. Since Tim Noakes started his food revolution, that figure is down to just 10kgs per week.

Prof TiM Noakes

Knead bakery is now offering low carb options, Kauai has an ‘original eating’ menu that’s rubber stamped by Prof Noakes, chefs and dining halls everywhere are buckling under the demanding needs of the army of the ‘carb-intolerant’ masses.

A year and a half ago we gave a presentation to a group of food producers who politely chuckled and guffawed at our hinting that Prof Noakes’ ideas may catch on with the public and have a bit of an impact on the popularity of certain food groups.

It wasn’t just Noakes who at that time was the lone voice in the jungle of carbohydrate advocates. Our personal favourite scientific writer, Gary Taubes, wrote The Diet Delusion, published in 2007, that’s a riveting read for any one with a weakness for food marketing conspiracy theories. The publishing of that book was the mark of a tipping point that gave academic pioneers like Noakes the fuel to start publicly promoting their research.

It was only a matter of time before the plausible theories of these learned experts, backed by modern day socially powered media, were going to take like a brush fire.

Judging by the impact of how these philosophies are affecting eating establishments throughout the city now, those immovable food producers are probably giggling less.

So what are the key points to note here?

  • Apart from diet tips, Prof Tim Noakes is a perfect example of tenacity in the face of criticism. He’s been banging the same drum for years and only recently have his theories gained any kind of mass appeal.
  • The promise of a revolution is a big draw card for people. Between the remarkable growth of the EFF, the global rise of craft beer and The Real Meal Revolution – inviting people to join a movement for change against an entrenched norm is very attractive in our modern conformist society.
  • To stay relevant in a rapidly changing global economy. brands needs to view keeping up with consumer trends a vital component of their strategic planning. This isn’t something that should be left to a junior in the marketing department, it’s a key performance area for executive management right the way down.

When you have an increasing number of studies pointing to the benefits of this kind of lifestyle, Prof Tim Noakes’ ‘Banting’ will not be going away any time soon. So if you are in the food marketing business, it would probably be a profitable idea to at least offer a few choices for those health freaks who pitch up not wanting to even mention that dreaded word beginning with a C.

Previously: Coke’s new obesity ads are not all that accurate – Cherryflava [January 2013]

Get the book: The Real Meal Revolution: The Radical, Sustainable Approach to Healthy Eating