Healthier wallets will mean healthier lifestyles

BOULDER – Natural and organic product companies in the Boulder Valley are expected to boom in 2013, as the economy picks up and consumers continue to think more about their health, local industry leaders said.

Across the nation, natural and organic product sales were up 8 percent in 2012, according to Wall Street analysts, and are expected to rise 17 percent or so in 2013, said Steve Hoffman, a managing partner of Compass Natural LLC, a marketing communications firm in Boulder. The industry has grown annually in the double digits for the past 20 years before dropping slightly during the national recession in recent years, Hoffman said.

“It’s the organic apple a day that keeps the doctor away, and people are demanding more natural and organic foods,” Hoffman said.

Boulder Valley-based WhiteWave Foods Co.’s Silk soy milk, Horizon Organic Dairy milk, Rudi’s Organic Bakery breads, Celestial Seasonings teas and Justin’s Nut Butter LLC nut butters are among the company brands expected to benefit.

More consumers continue to seek products free of chemicals and genetically modified ingredients, said Doug Radi, president of the Naturally Boulder local industry trade group. Many companies in the Naturally Boulder community continue to experience annual double-digit growth, he said, a trend expected to continue in 2013.

Contract food manufacturer Fresca Foods Inc. in Louisville is “very bullish on 2013,” too, said Liz Myslik, executive vice president for marketing and sales, and an owner at Fresca.

Snack sales — especially those of healthy snacks — are expected to skyrocket over the next five years, Myslik said. Many consumers now spend more on snack foods at the grocery store than they do on meals, Myslik said, citing industry statistics.

“We’re eating smaller portions throughout the day as opposed to three square meals,” Myslik said, “and we’re looking to snacks to deliver the nutrition that meals used to.”

Several Boulder Valley company products fit into the “healthy snack” arena, including Justin’s Nut Butter, which puts peanut butter and other nut butters into single-serving packs, Myslik said. In addition, Two Rivers Foods in Lyons sells SolBites healthy snack packages at convenience stores, while the Naked Edge LLC sells Veggie-Go’s fruit leather snacks in stores such as Whole Foods Market.

Protein-rich foods also are expected to be a bigger food trend in 2013. That includes Greek yogurt, which has exploded into more than $1 billion in annual sales in the past couple of years, Myslik said.

Many in the natural and organic industry also continue to push for consumer labeling for non-genetically modified organism, or GMO, foods, Hoffman said. Virtually all corn, soy, cotton and other major crops in the United States now are grown with genetically modified seeds, he said.

“If it’s not a non-GMO product verified with a seal or USDA-certified as organic, it’s GMO,” Hoffman said

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