Turnaround King Sees Gold in Margarine

Marketing guru aims to make Smart Balance a billion-dollar brand
By Paul Stinson,  Newser User
Posted Jun 5, 2008 7:45 PM CDT
Hughes will have to battle for margarine supremacy: Smart Balance is third in the marketplace, behind Shedd's Spread and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, pictured with brand spokesman Donny Osmond.    (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Hailed as a marketing magician for successes with Healthy Choice and Tropicana, billion-dollar brand legend Steve Hughes is at it again, Fortune reports. Turning Smart Balance’s “good” cholesterol into an industry-leading line of spreads is the goal, though stiff competition, rocketing commodity prices, and strapped shoppers could work against efforts to expand offerings.

Smart Balance’s heart-healthy (but expensive) approach could price itself out of becoming a household name, one analyst says. "For the portion of the population that cares, it's solid. I don't think you will convince Joe Six-Pack, though.” Investors don't yet seem persuaded, with stock well south of recent highs. No worries, Hughes says: "We're in second gear now, and shifting to third." (Read more Healthy Choice stories.)