Natural-food brands to vie for prizes

BOULDER – Ambitious company founders. Lots of new, natural products – mostly food snacks. A $45,000 prize package for one lucky company winner.

It all adds up to the 2012 Naturally Boulder Pitch Slam, billed as three minutes that can change your life. Each contestant company gets three minutes to pitch the company product to a panel of judges. The best ones are awarded prizes, including the top $45,000 prize package, which includes mentoring and other help. The mission of Naturally Boulder – the local industry trade group – is to nurture new natural-foods companies and to promote Boulder as a hub of natural products.

Boulder County has long been known for its natural-foods industry, with companies such as Celestial Seasonings Inc. – now The Hain Celestial Group Inc. (Nasdaq: HAIN) – and WhiteWave Foods Co., a division of Dean Foods (NYSE: DF).

More recent natural-foods companies have gotten big as well. Phil Anson, founder of the rapidly growing Phil’s Fresh Food Products LLC in Boulder, doing business as Evol Foods, won the first Pitch Slam event in 2004. Evol Foods is known for its frozen burritos and pizzas, among other food products.

This year’s pitch slam is Wednesday, Oct. 10. The preliminary round of the event is free and open to the public from noon to 4:30 p.m. at Rembrandt Yard, 1301 Spruce St., Boulder. An awards banquet follows the event from 5 to 9 p.m. at Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St., Boulder.

Awards will be given to “best young business,” “company of the year,” “focus on the future,” “local hero,” and “breakthrough innovation,” Naturally Boulder said in a press statement.

Local Pitch Slam contestants this year include:

Ave Agave in Boulder, a company that makes and sells fruit spreads.

Boulder Granola in Boulder, a company that makes and sells granola.

Bridge Marketing LLC, which has a street address in Longmont, and a mailing address in Boulder. The company makes herbal-infused xylitol mints.

Desiderio Chocolates in Longmont, a company that makes and sells European-style artisan chocolates with natural ingredients.

Heritage Honey Co. in Broomfield, a company that sells honey.

Jen’s Zen LLC in Louisville, a company that makes and sells a coconut milk-based chocolate sauce.

Keen One Foods LLC in Boulder, a company that makes and sells meals made with quinoa.

NAYA Artisan Revival SkinCare in Boulder, a company that makes and sells skin products.

SimplyDara Inc. in Boulder, a company that makes and sells healthy snacks.

SOURCE Local Foods in Boulder, a company focused on distribution, marketing and delivery services for local food producers, wholesalers, restaurants and others.

The Naked Edge LLC in Boulder, a company that makes Veggie Go’s vegetable snacks.

The Natural Hapa in Boulder, a company that makes Bamboo Bundles, which are meals wrapped in bamboo leaves.

Two Rivers Foods in Lyons and Longmont, a company that makes and sells healthy snack packages.

Zaza Raw LLC in Boulder, a company that makes and sells vegan desserts.

Zest Brands in Boulder, a company that makes and sells almond flour and gluten-free products.

Some other new companies from around the region also are registered to participate.

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