The tipping point has been reached. Matlitol, with its laxative effects and the prevailing wisdom (not necessarily based on double-blind medical studies) that maltitol prevents weight loss, has doomed it to the remainder bin of low carb products. (Lots of low carb products being discontinued now, many, as I have said, for good reason.)
Many companies are reformulating their products and replacing the sweeteners with inulin, oligofructose, and erthritol. Low Carb Creations is just one of them. Russell Stover should get a run for its money from low carb die hards with ZCarb bars and CHOCOperfection, chocolate alternatives without maltitol. And while Russell Stover has been on the forefront of low carb and no sugar candies, it will have to face a day of reckoning when the low carb dieters, who are more knowledgeable, will view the maltitol based products the same way they view the sugar based products: verboten.
Russell Stover will get away with marketing their existing product (loaded with maltitol) to diabetics who don't frequent newsgroups because most diabetics just follow what the dietitians say and don't do the research that many low carb dieters do... However, all it takes is one more blockbuster book from Atkins or one other diet guru who goes mainstream where it will even penetrate their knowledgebase and the dive that Nutrasweet has taken in comparison to Splenda will be nothing like the dive away from maltitol.
(Note: Actually, most companies that sell maltitol also sell other sweeteners... so it is the manufacturers that still use maltitol that are in danger of losing their customers to upstart rivals. Remember, this is the web, and information travels much faster now.)
Update: A great reader, Lucy, called me to task in the comment section of this post regarding my impression that diabetics follow dietitians advice and low carbers search out more information on the web. In my defense, I specifically excluded diabetics who frequent newsgroups. However, I should go into more detail why I feel this way and base it on some substance.
My first piece of evidence comes from the American Diabetes Association, the place where most diabetics turn to when they are first diagnosed. If you look at the nutrition advice posted on the web, you will see that it is based on the traditional food pyramid where carbs provide the bulk of the sustenance. I regularly scan diabetic books at the checkout counter and they scream "great desserts with only 56g of carbs!" (I actually bought that magazine because of the headline, but I can't put my hands on it right now to quote what issue it was.) I assume that these magazines must sell to regular diabetics because I only bought one of them once because of the crazy headline and there can't be many people like me.
My second piece of evidence comes from the nutritional information of diabetic products: they are filled with carbs. Let's just take one example from memory, Murray sugar free cookies (versus low carb cookies) have a high carb count, and, what is worse is that food manufacturers are moving to no sugar or low sugar forumulations but with plenty of carbs. They are betting that diabetics will still buy them.
I guess diabetics don't have the luxury to be rebels like low carbers do. If diabetics mess up, the consequences are horrendous. It is a much more scary concept to "buck the system" when it could have a real impact on your long-term quality of life. Atkins and others say that low carbing helps, but "the establishment" says that it could hurt you long term.... which way does a diabetic go when a diabetic is praying for that same medical establishment to come up with a cure? Aren't the medical researchers supposed to know what is right? Isn't there a "consensus" around diabetes and shouldn't normal people follow the consensus and not experiment with what works for them because these researchers know better?
Low carbers, on the other hand, don't have those serious concerns. They aren't hoping for the establishment to come up with a "cure". They have already rejected the establishment and gone on a low carb diet despite the "consensus", and if they screw up, well, it is only a matter of a few pounds and not their life. Low carbers are looking to refine something that is already outside the bounds of acceptability. It takes a diabetic with guts to do that. And while there are many out there, I link to a great one my diabetic resource list, there are many more who feel much more comfortable following the "consensus" on what to do -- and I can't blame them. I blame the American Diabetic Association and others who categorically state that a low carb diet like Atkins is not good for diabetics, with no regard for the individual's lifestyle or how they react. "They" have already decided that ketosis is bad and that glucose is specifically needed to fuel the brain and that is that.
It is my fervent wish, hope and prayer that diabetics will someday find a cure so they can have the luxury of bucking the system and living outside the establishment with no thought of the long-term consequences or of being harangued that their chosen diet is dangerous.
I hope this clears things up, and please feel free to comment some more. I don't have diabetes. There could be a huge underground movement outside of the newsgroups that I am unaware of. Educate me.