Backpacking foods startup company Heather’s Choice received it’s USDA Grant of Inspection on June 11, 2018. This will allow the company to begin storing, processing, and selling USDA approved proteins, including beef, chicken, and pork. Heather’s Choice, now in its fourth year of operation, produces dehydrated meals and snacks for backcountry adventurers. Their popular just add water meals have historically featured exotic game meats such as venison, quail, antelope, and grass-fed bison. Now, the company can begin producing recipes that feature more affordable and readily available meats like grass-fed beef, pastured raised chicken, and pork.
“One of the big hurdles we’ve faced as a business is that we’ve been limited to the types of animal proteins we can use in our meals,” said founder Heather Kelly. “This is going to allow us to source Alaskan-raised beef, chicken, and pork. With that, we’re going to be able to supply people with more healthy, delicious, high-protein meals for the backcountry.”
Kelly went on to explain the difference between amenable and non-amenable types of protein. In order to process amenable proteins (beef, chicken, pork, etc.) the manufacturer must be under a USDA Grant of Inspection. Non-amenable proteins include the aforementioned exotic meats and do not require a USDA Grant of Inspection to process.
“This will dramatically affect our cost-per-unit,” said Kelly, “because exotic meats are so much more expensive than beef, chicken, pork.” Heather’s Choice now intends to finalize and release several new backcountry dinner options including, Chicken Mole and a Hunter’s Pie. This USDA Grant of Inspection will also allow Heather’s Choice to wholesale more dinner options containing animal proteins and offer more variety of products to current and future retailers.
Heather’s Choice moved into its own commercial kitchen in Anchorage, Alaska last November and has spent six months pursuing the USDA Grant of Inspection. Heather’s Choice also plans to obtain a gluten-free inspection, making it the first commercial kitchen in Anchorage to be both USDA and gluten-free inspected.
Source: Heather’s Choice