Boulder Brands plans new products for ’13

NIWOT – Granola bars, tortillas, toaster pastries and popcorn are among the new food products slated to hit grocery store shelves this year from Udi’s, Glutino and Earth Balance brands.

Those three natural-food brands are under the umbrella of Niwot-based Boulder Brands Inc. (Nasdaq: BDBD). Boulder Brands Inc. is the new name of Smart Balance Inc., announced Jan. 2. The company expects those brands to represent more than 50 percent of its net 2013 revenue.

Udi’s Healthy Foods, which focuses on gluten-free products, plans to launch new granola bars, tortillas and some other as yet undisclosed branded products in 2013, said Randy Gilbride, an Udi’s spokesman.

Udi’s plans to grow following Smart Balance’s acquisition of the Denver-based company last year, Gilbride said. Udi’s had about $95 million in sales in 2012.

“We’re definitely innovating more than I think we would have,” Gilbride said. “We’re planning on growing and growing more quickly.”

Glutino, which also focuses on gluten-free food products, plans to roll out a toaster pastry, said Sophie Gardner, a Glutino Food Group spokeswoman. The company also has updated its packaging and some recipes. Udi’s and Glutino have been able to combine gluten-free research and development in recent months, according to Gardner and Gilbride. Smart Balance acquired Quebec-based Glutino in August 2011.

Earth Balance has four new snack items on Whole Foods Market shelves – two new popcorn items, a vegan “puff” snack, and P.B. Popps, a sweet and salty snack, said Adriane Little, a spokeswoman. Earth Balance is known for its spreads and has new flavors in that category as well, Little said.

Boulder Brands Inc. has plans to move 50 to 70 people into a Pearl Street location in downtown Boulder this summer, where the focus will be on marketing and sales. Accounting, finance, operations and other departments will remain in the company’s existing office in New Jersey, said Carole Buyer, senior vice president of investor relations at Boulder Brands.

“We think of Boulder as the Silicon Valley of natural foods,” Buyer said.

Boulder Brands previously was known as Boulder Specialty Brands Inc. The company had an initial public offering in 2005. It changed its name to Smart Balance Inc. in May 2007, when it acquired GFA Brands Inc., a privately held company, which owned the Smart Balance and Earth Balance brands. Boulder Brands also owns Best Life, a weight-management brand.

Udi’s reported $78.2 million in trailing 12-month sales in a recent investor relations report, a 70 percent increase from the earlier 12-month period. Glutino reported $66.5 million in trailing 12-month sales, a 35 percent increase. Earth Balance reported $36.3 million in trailing 12-month sales, a 27 percent increase.

The consumer market for gluten-free products was estimated between $1.7 billion and $2.6 billion in 2010. The market appears to be expanding rapidly as a growing number of Americans are diagnosed with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine caused by a reaction to a gluten found in wheat, barley, rye and similar proteins.

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