Looking to extend its healthy foods portfolio, Smart Balance Inc., Paramus, N.J., said it purchased Glutino Food Group, for $66.3 million from Claridge, a Montreal investments and holding company.

Glutino, Laval, Quebec, produces a wide range of gluten-free products including frozen entrees, frozen pizzas and pizza crusts. Officials said Glutino posted annual sales of $53.9 million during its fiscal year ended March 31, 2011.

"The demand for gluten-free products is significant and is now a category of over $2 billion in retail sales," said Smart Balance Chairman & CEO Stephen Hughes. "We are bullish on the continuation of the category's 10 percent compound annual growth rate due to increased awareness and diagnosis of gluten-induced ailments, including celiac disease, gluten intolerance and wheat allergies."

Smart Balance offers a line of trans fat-free items including refrigerated buttery speads and sticks, enhanced milks and cheese. It also markets natural foods under the Earth Balance and Bestlife brands.