Boulder brands have a path paved for them by the “natural food mecca” legacy. But they face thicker competition than their predecessors while grappling with new consumer trends accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Natural food brands share a desire for sustainability and healthy ingredients fuels a healthy competition in Boulder’s natural-food scene. The city is already is nationally recognized as a launching pad for widely known natural food, beverage and products companies that were acquired and have customers beyond Boulder borders. Celestial Seasonings, a subsidiary of The Hain Celestial Group Inc.; Danone subsidiaries Horizon Organic and WhiteWave Foods Co.; and Izze Beverage Co., a subsidiary of PepsiCo Inc., are among the brands that shaped Boulder’s natural-food history.
But still-autonomous brands including Bobo’s, trade name for Simply Delicious Inc.; 1908 Brands Inc.’s Boulder Clean and kombucha-maker Rowdy Mermaid Inc. are defending Boulder’s reputation as a natural-food mecca.
1908 Brands CEO and founder Steve Savage, right, looks on as product development specialist Sherri Smith works to cool match a new product last month in Boulder. (Timothy Hurst)
COVID-19: A minor bump in the road for Boulder brands, a booster for some
Boulder Clean, a brand housed under 1908 Brands Inc., has seen exponential growth during the pandemic, said Steve Savage, CEO and founder of 1908 Brands, which develops and invests in early-stage naturally driven household items and food and beverage products.
Though 1908 Brands launched in 2010 with Boulder Clean — it was previously a concept under Eco-Products Inc., another company that Savage founded — sales skyrocketed since March. This year’s revenue to date is about 10 times higher than 2019, Savage said, allowing the company to more than double its staff, now totalling 25 employees.
The cleaning-product line has been driving sales for the parent company. 1908 Brands hibernated three of its brands over the course of the pandemic: juice company Bump Brands LLC, paleo snack brand Thrive Tribe and Three Bear Oats, while operating Boulder Clean, Pasta Jay’s jarred sauce line and Schultz’s Gourmet, a cooking sauce and seasoning brand.
Savage said that 1908 Brands wants to focus its time, energy and money into Boulder Clean and support its growth, noting it and ingredient-based food companies like Pasta Jay’s and Schultz’s take less maintenance than snack brands.
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