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New Era Nutrition

Saul Katz, CEOThe banner on the home page of the New Era Nutrition website is almost science fiction in flavour. It reads: "The Foods of Tomorrow … Today." When Edmonton entrepreneur Saul Katz founded the company in 1992, that was exactly the corporate sentiment he wanted to project. Katz entered the business of creating and marketing nutraceuticals and functional foods, a multi-billion dollar industry growing up around foods and food ingredients that offer medical or health benefits.

The company’s first product, developed as a joint venture with scientists and nutritionists from the University of Alberta Hospital, was a balanced nutrition bar, an alternative to the Power Bar then produced and marketed in the United States. The Balance Bar combined nutraceuticals, and the company fine-tuned the product with the National Research Council and the Leduc Food Processing Centre.

Over the years, the company would develop "medicine that actually tasted good." There would be the soy bars and protein mixes common to the industry, but also the Balance Bar Outdoor Line (an all-natural meal replacement bar), the Children’s FruitSponge (an apple-based fruit bar available in six flavours … and an equal number of vibrant colours) and the Prebiotic Bar designed to promote good gastrointestinal health.

As the Atkins-generated low-carb food fad faded, in April 2005 New Era embarked upon an approach that, for want of a better term, could be called "slow carb." The Solo GI Bar encourages a slow digestion of carbohydrates, and prevents a quick spiking and then crashing of the body’s blood sugar levels.

The bar appears to be a success, gaining the company entry into the United States where the bulk of the nutraceutical business is found.

Katz projected 2005 sales of the Solo bar alone to be $2.5 million, but felt the figure could double. Ever the optimist, he looks ahead to $500 million annually within the next five to seven years.

The bar might be low glycemic, but for this "food of tomorrow … today" the future could not be more limitless.

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