When it comes to new product development, Inventure Foods focuses on escaping the status quo. In 2010, the company rolled out such indulgent specialty products as T.G.I. Friday’s Jalapeño Cheddar Potato Skins and Crunchy Cheddar Bites as well as Burger King Zesty Ranch Onion Rings, Cheesy Fries and Hot Fries.

“Just coming out with the same product that the No. 1 or No. 2 snack company has is not a recipe for success,” said Terry McDaniel, president and CEO of the Phoenix, AZ-based company.

In the healthy/natural segment, product innovations such as its Rice & Adzuki Bean snack chips, Hummus & Sesame tortilla chips, Garden Select vegetable crisps and Red Wine Vinegar kettle chips helped fuel sales for the Boulder Canyon Natural Foods brand.

“We were very fortunate. Someone had the wisdom to buy this small company years ago, and they kind of put it on a shelf,” Mr. McDaniel noted. “Coming in here, we began to look at healthy/natural and the Boulder brand, which was really a Colorado brand well known to consumers in the region.”

The Boulder brand now can be found in 86% all commodity volume (ACV) in the natural food channel and more than 30% ACV in the grocery channel. New products, along with expanded national distribution, fueled 62% growth last year.

Research showed consumers perceive the Boulder brand as natural and environmentally friendly. As a result, Inventure Foods makes an extra effort to use only natural seasonings and other ingredients. The chips also come in a compostable bag that feels like paper. “It doesn’t make a lot of noise,” Mr. McDaniel said. “It’s made from wood chips versus some recyclable bags made from corn. Wood chips are better for the environment. We looked at packaging innovation to make our products more relevant to consumers who buy our products.”