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Gluten-free stocks, anyone?

A quick break from the FDA today, to share two small bits of news.

There’s an interesting acquisition/merger to chat about, but first: a recall. The recall affects Winn-Dixie stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Three Winn-Dixie branded baked goods were improperly labeled regarding their egg and wheat content. If you have any of the products in question you can return them to your local Winn-Dixie for a refund or exchange. The items, according to First Coast News, are:

  • Winn-Dixie Lemon Bar, called “Bar Cake Lemon” on the package label, UPC code starts with 209983
  • Winn-Dixie Chocolate Cherry Bar, called “Bar Cake Choc Cherry” on the package label, UPC code starts with 209831
  • Winn-Dixie Bakery Iced Cinnamon Rolls – 6 Pack, UPC code starts with 209806

Second, and in a completely different area of gluten-free business: Glutino has been acquired by Smart Balance.

We’ve talked about Glutino before, because they recently began distributing Genius brand gluten-free bread stateside. The company also makes a variety of other gluten-free items under its own label.

We haven’t spoken much about Smart Balance, although there’s usually one or two of their items in my refrigerator. According to their press release they offer their own brand of cholesterol-friendly butter-replacements, alongside peanut butter, popcorn, traditional and lactose-free milk, etc. They also market products (often vegan) under the label Earth Balance® and lower-calorie products under the bestlife® brand, in conjunction with Oprah and Bob Greene.

The numbers are interesting: Glutino has been growing about 10% every year for the past three years. For the fiscal year ending in March 2011, they reported sales of almost $54 million. Smart Balance paid $66.3 million, cash, for full ownership of Glutino. Their stock (NASDAQ: SMBL) has gone up about 10% in the days following the announcement.

It seems like a friendly acquisition, and I expect the only change you’ll see is a wider distribution of Glutino products – nothing wrong with that!