Irish Network Hosts Udi’s At Their June Luncheon

11 Jul 2012 10:26 AM | Adam O'Leary

Etai Baron, Co-CEO at Udi's Foods, joined INCO members at Strings Restaurant in the Uptown neighborhood of Central Denver. As President and owner of Udi's Handcrafted Foods, an affiliation of 8 separate food companies based in Denver with common ownership and brand identity. Udi’s was founded in 1994 by Mr. Baron’s father, Udi Baron, and currently employees more than 500 people.

Etai spoke on the many challenges Udi’s has encountered over the years and the actions the business has taken in order to diversify product lines and grow the Udi’s brand. Along those lines, Mr. Baron spent several minutes of his lecture to discuss the recent sale of the Udi’s Healthy Food brand to New Jersey based Smart Balance.  Udi’s Healthy Food makes gluten free products such as breads and granola. The $125 million deal closed the week before Mr. Baron’s INCO presentation.  Social media allowed Udi’s to connect with people looking for gluten free products around the country and to tailor products based on direct customer interaction. 

As a condition of the deal, Udi’s well-known area restaurants will be required to change their name. Etai reflected that the company’s decision to include a diverse product line under the Udi’s brand initially helped support new product initiatives, but also created a challenge to the re-brand the remaining restaurant business. 

INCO members arrived in force for the Colorado Rapids match on June 20, with a networking reception prior that featured Jeff Jacobson, VP of Marketing for the team. Attendees received food, drink and a special soccer scarf with their ticket prices while a portion of the proceeds was donated to the local charity, Denver Active 2030. Denver Active works to raise money for underprivileged children and is known for it’s premier fundraising event, the Denver Polo Classic.

Although, the Rapids didn’t get the result they wanted (losing 2-1 to San Jose), attendees had a great time eating, drinking and enjoying the match. “I really enjoy these events that we put on,” says Seamus Blaney. “INCO members are a great bunch to hang out with.” INCO have a great relationship with the local soccer club since it’s President, Tim Hinchey, is a member and supporter.

INCO has a great upcoming event when INCO member, Jan Rutherford returns from Ireland with CU graduate students. The graduate students traveled to Ireland to study leadership and entrepreneurship, and will present their findings via team presentations at the July 11th event at the Tivoli Student Union. INCO invites you to attend and lend support to budding Colorado entrepreneurs, and to learn about trade possibilities with Ireland.

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