Embarking on outdoor adventures offers a myriad of benefits, from connecting with nature to promoting physical and mental well-being. The joy of exploring the great outdoors is unparalleled, but one common challenge faced by outdoor enthusiasts is ensuring access to healthy and delicious food while on their journeys. Recognizing this need, Heather’s Choice presented a solution on the tenth episode of season 15 of ‘Shark Tank.’ Their pitch focused on providing outdoor enthusiasts with not just tasty but also nutritionally rich food options, catering to the unique demands of those who thrive in the wilderness.
Heather’s Choice: Who Are They and What Do They Do?
Born and raised in Alaska, Heather Kellen is a true outdoors enthusiast. Identifying as a “creative rebel” and “adventure seeker,” she possesses a deep passion for outdoor activities. Heather pursued her education at Western Washington University, earning a BA in Evolutionary Nutrition. In 2013, when she began dating Brad Hurd, she found a like-minded companion who shared her love for hiking, climbing, and trekking. However, their outdoor experiences were marred by disappointing food choices. With her background in nutrition, Heather recognized that the pre-packaged meals they relied on during their adventures lacked the necessary nutritional value.
Drawing on her experience as a certified eating psychology coach and a Women’s Rowing NCAA National Champion, Heather Kellen understood the specific nutritional needs of individuals heavily reliant on physical wellness. In 2014, she started an entrepreneurial journey by founding her own company, Heather’s Choice, in Anchorage, Alaska, where she and Brad were building their life together. Reflecting on the early days, Heather shared in an interview how placing the first order on Shopify, and seeing the #0001 order receipt, made her realize that her vision was turning into a reality. Driven by dissatisfaction with food options for backcountry hikers, Heather’s Choice emerged as a brand specializing in “Just Add Water Meals” and ready-to-eat snacks.
Heather’s Choice products distinguish themselves by prioritizing local sourcing and catering to dietary needs with offerings that are dairy-free and gluten-free. Their product line includes breakfast and dinner options, and the brand’s claim of delivering delicious taste holds, as validated by positive customer reviews. Heather’s Choice addresses a prevalent gap in the outdoor adventure food industry, challenging the notion that on-the-go meals during expeditions must be bland and uninspiring. Heather and Brad’s adventurous life in Anchorage with their dog Jango, fits the narrative of the brand and makes it not just a company but an experience that is a reality for someone.
Heather’s Choice Update: Where Are They Now?
Heather’s Choice faces challenges with higher shipping costs due to its location in Alaska, and sourcing local produce, especially for items like grass-fed bison, can be challenging. The emphasis on local ingredients contributes to increased production costs, which, coupled with shipping expenses, may impact cost efficiency. However, the company has strategically formed e-commerce coalitions and partnerships to address these challenges. Their appearance on ‘Shark Tank’ is expected to bring increased visibility and opportunities for collaboration, potentially alleviating some of the logistical and cost-related hurdles faced by small businesses like Heather’s Choice.
Heather’s Choice offers a variety of breakfast options, including Apple Pie Buckwheat Breakfast, Morning Glory Oatmeal, Blueberry Cinnamon Buckwheat Breakfast, and more, with individual packets priced at $8.95. Customers can also opt for a sample pack featuring all breakfast choices, available at $49.95. For dinner, they provide options like Grass-Fed Beef Shepherd’s Pie, Spinach Curry with Chicken and Rice, and Grass-Fed Bison Chili, ranging in price from $12 to $15 per packet. Additionally, their ready-to-eat snacks, known as “packaroons,” rich in essential fats and proteins, are priced at $2.50 per piece or $25 for a pack of 10.
Heather’s Choice goes beyond being a food company; it serves as a comprehensive resource hub with a plethora of blogs covering topics relevant to its customer base. From backpacking and meal plans to health and wellness, they offer valuable insights. Additionally, they share recipes featuring their products, showcasing Heather’s passion for the wilderness and culinary innovation. As a woman-led business, Heather’s Choice stands resilient, foreseeing a bright future. With its commitment to quality and innovation, Heather’s Choice is poised for further growth and success in its journey ahead.