Millions of Americans, this blogger included, are finding that they feel better and are losing weight by eliminating wheat gluten from their diet. According to the book “The Wheat Belly,” it is not just the gluten in wheat that has become extremely hard to digest through genetic modifications, and it is wise to avoid the whole plant.
I predict that in the next twenty years, wheat will either be re-engineered to remove the genetic modifications that make it both indigestible and addictive, or gluten free alternatives such as rice, amaranth and other grains will be revived and made the standard. This means that either conventional food companies will have to adapt (and some are), or the new gluten-free companies will end up winning market share and become solid long term stock plays.
The forerunner and owner of both the Udi’s and Glutino brands is Boulder Brands Inc (NASDAQ:BDBD), formerly known as Smart Balance. A small- to mid- cap with a bright future, Boulder Brands Inc (NASDAQ:BDBD) changed its name in January.
With a one year price change of 76.9%, a quick ratio of 0.8 and a current ratio of 1.5 suggesting reasonable debt amounts, not to mention a reasonable beta of 1.02, this stock looks like a bargain at around $10 per share (with 59.5 million outstanding shares). Imperial Capital just initiated coverage on this stock, giving it an “outperform” rating. The firm set a price target of $16, and expect a three year price growth rate of 10%.
One area for concern is the high PE ratio: 161.81. It may make sense to buy a small amount now, and watch the PE ratio.
H.J. Heinz Company and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A)
One of the big boys beginning to play in the gluten free space is H.J. Heinz Company (NYSE:HNZ), which has announced the completion of its acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway. Given this acquisition, we can’t base an analysis on H.J. Heinz Company (NYSE:HNZ)’s fundamentals alone, but the company is well-posed to leverage its gluten free BiAglut brand for success in the gluten free space, which is mostly now distributed in Europe. Most of the major Celiac disease sites have a link to the BiAglut website. H.J. Heinz Company (NYSE:HNZ) is a household name; should it decide to sweep this market, it has both the resources and marketing capacity to do so.