The Blue Moose production area works to keep up with a growing demand for products. Jonathan Castner for BizWest

Blue Moose brings fun snacking to both coasts

LAFAYETTE — Depending on the snacking occasion, the iconic blue moose wears a snow hat (perfect for Colorado), a bolero, a sombrero or a traditional chef’s hat.

The blue moose with blue antlers appears on the blue lid of the line of Blue Moose of Boulder products, and he’s going places. His name is Humoose.

In the past six months, the Lafayette-based company put in a concerted effort to expand out of Colorado to the West and East coasts, a project started about two years ago but intensified recently, said Conrad Skelton, senior vice president of strategy and sales for Blue Moose.

“We do a pretty good volume, and our business has grown incredibly fast in the past six months, if not over the past year,” Skelton said. “I think we have something people want, and we put a lot of effort into getting it out there. … We show ourselves and present ourselves as the cleaner, healthier option.”

Blue Moose is in upward of 15 states, a number that changes slightly depending on customer interest for the line of handcrafted hummus, artisanal cheese dips, pesto and salsa. As of now, the dips and spreads are mainly in grocery stores and club stores, along with a few schools, food service operations and Denver International Airport.

The products have fresh, organic and pronounceable ingredients on what the company calls clean labels. They have real flavors, are low in caloric and sodium content, and are free of preservatives.

“Our products are second to none due to the fact we use the highest quality natural ingredients crafted in small batches,” said Bill Cancellieri, top chef and innovation director for Blue Moose. “We do an amazing job of blending the old and new by handcrafting real food while using the latest technology to produce the safest food imaginable. … We are a dynamic company that is growing rapidly through our team’s ability to be agile and innovative.”

The products are kept fresh using cold pressure, a method of submerging the packaging in cold water at a high pressure. This protects the food inside from bacteria and helps maintain its flavor, texture and vitamin and mineral content.

“People can flip it over and read the label and tell it’s a healthier, cleaner product,” Skelton said. “We want it to be hummus and cheese spread with flavors added, so people can taste what real food is supposed to taste like. … I’ve seen lots of hummus companies and toured lots of factories. Ours is totally different.”

The hummus comes in a classic organic original flavor, plus flavors like roasted red pepper and lemon turmeric in regular and snack sizes for lunches and on the go. The flavors for the cheese dips include green chili, roasted onion, spinach artichoke, red pepper artichoke, buffalo cheddar, white balsamic fig and others. Plus, there is a basil pesto and mild, medium and hot salsas.

The options for flavors are added to the mix of offerings based on customer interest and what is popular and trending. Recently, the lemon turmeric represents Blue Moose’s entry into the superfood market by including turmeric, a flowering plant of the ginger family that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

“It’s a conscious effort to enable some of those superfoods in our recipes,” Skelton said. “Lemon turmeric is a first. We have some ideas in the hopper (for others).”

By incorporating superfoods, which are nutritionally dense, healthy foods, Blue Moose aims to set the company apart from the competition. Many of the existing hummus products, for example, are dry run with preservatives and are not natural or organic, Skelton said.

“The fun blue moose on the front disrupts the old categories,” Skelton said. “It’s a great tasting product. It’s super packaging. It takes something old and boring and makes it fun and interesting. … We’re working in a space that needs someone to come in and shake it up, and that’s what we’re doing.”

The cheese dips represent another area where Blue Moose can make a claim, with the idea that customers would directly associate the label with the product, like Kleenex with tissues.

“We see that as a fast win opportunity to get out there to be a flagship of cheese spreads,” Skelton said. “No one dominates that space. We feel like we could.”

Blue Moose, which began as a primarily hummus-focused company, launched its line of cheese dips in January under its own label. The company had created several of the cheese dips and pesto under the Ciolo Foods sub-brand for Whole Foods, but now offers new and improved versions of the product with the Blue Moose brand, Skelton said.

The cheese dips, made in partnership with family-owned Sartori Cheese in Plymouth, Wis., and the other products are crafted in small batches in-house at the Lafayette site. The building includes office space and a factory, operating with a staff of about 50, including six to seven in the office and the rest handling the products.

“We’re not a faceless brand. Outside of that is quality. An affordable luxury is what we coined for ourselves,” Skelton said.

Blue Moose started as a local operation about 20 years ago and in 2015, a group of friends led by primary owner Dan Finks decided to purchase it. At the time, the company was solely in Colorado, but the owners decided to expand to other states, add to the product lines and increase the distribution channels.

“This year is our big focus for expansion,” Skelton said.

The owners also made some artistic changes to the label, adding colors and making the lid blue.

“It always had a blue moose,” Skelton said. “We helped him shine a little more and polished him up.”

LAFAYETTE — Depending on the snacking occasion, the iconic blue moose wears a snow hat (perfect for Colorado), a bolero, a sombrero or a traditional chef’s hat.

The blue moose with blue antlers appears on the blue lid of the line of Blue Moose of Boulder products, and he’s going places. His name is Humoose.

In the past six months, the Lafayette-based company put in a concerted effort to expand out of Colorado to the West and East coasts, a project started about two years ago but intensified recently, said Conrad Skelton, senior vice president of strategy and sales for Blue Moose.

“We do a pretty good volume, and our business has grown incredibly fast in the past six months, if not over the past year,” Skelton said. “I think we have something people want, and we put a lot of effort into getting it out there. … We show ourselves and present ourselves as the cleaner, healthier option.”

Blue Moose is in upward of 15 states, a number that changes slightly depending on customer interest for the line of handcrafted hummus, artisanal cheese dips, pesto and salsa. As of now, the dips and spreads are mainly in grocery stores and club stores, along with a few schools, food service operations and Denver International Airport.

The products have fresh, organic and pronounceable ingredients on what the company calls clean labels. They have real flavors, are low in caloric and sodium content,…