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Chicago, IL, October 26, 2004 — According to Mintel’s recent research, the $44.5 billion red meat industry posted an 18% increase in sales between 2002 and 2004, and a 39% increase since 1999. Sales have been robust due to the explosion of popularity of the Atkins diet in 2003, which led to an increased focus on red meat, particularly by men following the diet.Almost a quarter of respondents have increased the amount of meat and fish they are eating due to the low-carb trend. The low-carb trend will undoubtedly continue to be popular, although it may be flattening out after the initial craze.