Udi’s Gluten-Free is launching a host of new products that promise to build on the Udi’s brand, which most recently was the first gluten-free sponsor to work with the New York City Wine & Food Festival. It was only back in 2008 when Udi’s made its first loaf of gluten-free bread at its bakery cafe in Colorado. Then, in 2009, they opened their first 100 percent exclusively dedicated gluten-free bakery, which introduced Whole Grain Sandwich Bread at the Natural Foods Expo West.
Fast-forward to present day: the company was recently purchased by Smart Balance and is growing by partnering with celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito, author of Eat this Now! Italian. The firm is growing by leaps and bounds, rolling out unique products for those who are looking for healthy alternatives and also searching for their beloved sweets that they may have been deprived of.
This summer, Udi’s was acquired by New Jersey-based Smart Balance for a cool $125 million in an attempt to have the most comprehensive list of healthy, gluten-free products in the marketplace today. Smart Balance also purchased Quebec-based Glutino Food Group, a Canadian maker of gluten-free foods. The acquisition is a strong one, building a stronger natural and gluten-free category position, believes Udi’s.
Denise Sirovatka, vice president of marketing for Udi's, said their new products go way beyond bread and include items like crackers, chips, baguettes, dinner rolls, everything-inside-out bagels, tortillas, and Harvest crunch muffins, among others. Sirovatka noted that one of her favorite new items, the vanilla muffin, is a perfect treat for children in school. She suggests taking the muffin and topping it with gluten-free frosting to provide sweet snacks at birthday and holiday school celebrations. The firm is also dedicated to working at Summer Celiac Camps, where their products are shipped, to provide children with safe meal items throughout the course of their stay.
In the fall at the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival, DiSpirito included Udi’s gluten-free French rolls on his BBQ brisket dish at the Thrillist BBQ and The Blues event. In an exclusive interview with The Daily Meal, DiSpirito explained that he came across a massive demand for gluten-free meals in his work with school systems in an attempt to provide children with healthier lunch options.
He’s a big supporter of the gluten-free movement and offers gluten-free options on his Eat this Now! truck that roams the streets of New York City. He’s even made his own homemade brown rice pasta and bread. "People want a healthier alternative," said DiSpirito. "What’s in wheat is so bad for you. Most people just cannot tolerate it."