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Sep 17, 2019

Steve Hughes’ influence on the development of the natural food industry is impressive. As the founder and former CEO of Boulder Brands, he helped develop and nurture a range of next-generation natural food companies, including evol and Smart Balance as well as pioneering gluten-free brands Udi's and Glutino. Following the sale of Boulder Brands to Pinnacle Foods in 2015, Steve co-founded Sunrise Strategic Partners, an investment firm that has acquired stakes in several innovative and fast-growing brands such as Kodiak Cakes, Cali’flour, Coolhaus and Maple Hill Creamery.

In an interview included in this episode, Hughes reflected upon his career and his role in shaping the current market for natural food. He also discussed Sunrise’s investment philosophy, why the funding environment for natural CPG companies is “capitalism at its absolute best,” and what he sees as the most exciting development for consumer brands.

Show notes: 

2:26: Interview: Steve Hughes, Founder, Boulder Brands/Sunrise Strategic Partners -- Hughes met with NOSH editor Carol Ortenberg in Denver, Colorado and spoke about how roles as an executive with ConAgra, Celestial Seasonings and WhiteWave Foods laid the foundation for Boulder Brands, which he founded in 2005. Later, he explained why brands that grow from $10 million to $100 million in sales will encounter “a lot of speed bumps and rakes to step on,” and discussed his admiration for the founders of Sunrise portfolio brands Cali’Flour and Kodiak Cakes. Hughes also discussed why e-commerce has been a game-changer in how brands market and sell to target consumers.

Brands in this episode: McCormick Spices, ConAgra, Celestial Seasonings, Silk, Frontier Natural Products, Simply Organic, Boulder Brands, Bobo’s, Vital Farms, Kodiak Cakes, Little Secrets, Healthy Choice, Udi’s, Glutino, Cali’flour, Coolhaus, Maple Hill Creamery, Whitewave Foods, evol, Earth Balance