John Libonati

Smart Balance Acquires Udi’s Healthy Foods for $125 Million Increases Stake in Gluten Free Market

by John Libonati on June 8th, 2012


John Libonati Gluten Free Works

Smart Balance Gluten FreeThe gluten-free food industry is exploding due to increased diagnosis of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Celiac disease is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people, while gluten sensitivity is believed to affect up to 10% of the population. The gluten-free market is one of the fastest growing industries, with 20%+ growth per year with US sales increasing from under $1 billion in 2006 to over $2.5 billion in 2011. With the potential market so large, more and more major corporations are getting into the act.

Smart Balance recently acquired Udi’s Healthy Foods, the industry leader in the gluten-free breads and baked goods category, for $125 million.  This follows Smart Balance’s 2011 acquisition of Glutino Foods, which was at the top of the gluten-free snack industry when purchased. With this recent buy, Smart Balance is fast becoming a leader across many gluten-free offerings.

Press release from Udi’s Healthy Foods:

(June 1, 2012 – DENVER, Colo.) – Yesterday’s announcement of the purchase of Udi’s Healthy Foods LLC, founded in 2006 as a gluten-free natural product company, by Smart Balance Inc. is exciting news for Udi Bar-on and his family. As part of the family’s commitment to its thousands of local customers, the Bar-ons affirm they will continue their local restaurant, bakery and catering businesses in Colorado.

Udi’s Foods, a family-owned enterprise founded by Udi and Fern Baron in 1994 in Denver, Colo., is now a thriving portfolio of six restaurants, an artisan bakery, and a catering company. What began as a singular sandwich shop in Denver is now a vigorous food business serving hungry Coloradoans at farmers markets, in their own Mediterranean and artisan bakery-inspired cafes, and on regional grocery store shelves through its artisan bread line.

The Udi’s gluten-free products were developed from the same talent pool of Udi’s Foods but managed as a separate business entirely under the name Udi’s Healthy Foods LLC. Thus, the selling of the gluten-free business in no way affects the ongoing operations for the restaurants, bakery or catering company.
Local food enthusiasts should rest assured that today’s Udi’s Foods owners — Udi, Fern, Etai and Robin Bar-on–remain focused on serving their diners and customers through their local restaurant, bakery and catering businesses. “We really love our local businesses. It gives us endless pleasure to feed our neighbors daily,” said Etai Bar-on, Co-CEO for the family-owned company.

From rustic bread baked daily in their Louisville bakery to wood oven pizza in their Arvada restaurant, to serving thousands of corporate lunches, to daily made hummus based on their grandfather’s recipe, the next generation of Udi’s food businesses will evolve and happily reside in Colorado.

The Bar-on family appreciates the long time support of its many customers and diners and they look forward to carrying their family’s food traditions and deep ties to Colorado into the future.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Sylvia R. Tawse, Fresh Ideas Group, (303) 913-9650 or sylvia@freshideasgroup.com

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Author Information: John Libonati, Philadelphia, PA
Publisher, Glutenfreeworks.com.
Editor & Publisher, Recognizing Celiac Disease.
John can be reached by e-mail here.


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