On an unseasonably warm afternoon last week, the brains behind Colorado’s burgeoning natural foods industry gathered at Boulder’s St Julien Hotel & Spa to talk shop at the annual Naturally Boulder Days conference.

Amid conversations of agavé syrup and quick, healthy meal options for families were rumblings about up-and-coming businesses. But the new stars didn’t emerge until the event’s closing, when new shops pitched their ideas to industry execs, including the Izze founders.

Kudos went to Oogavé soda, Doc Popcorn (which recently opened an outpost in the Cherry Creek Mall), Simply Boulder’s agavé-sweetened marinades and sauces (think lemon pesto and coconut peanut), and Spice’s sugar-roasted nuts. Pitch judges think these Colorado food companies are most likely to go big, regionally and nationally. For now, though, they provide tasty options for holiday gift baskets.