We are a small team of multi-talented food scientists, chefs, quality assurance experts, operations specialists, and marketers dedicated to helping companies develop and launch innovative food products from start to finish.

 
 

Our Company

Natural Development brings innovation, collaboration, and fresh thinking to food and beverage product development for clients small to large.

Our founder and president, Dan Heiges, started Natural Development in Boulder, CO in April of 2007 with the idea of making food and beverage development a partnership. Dan wanted to educate clients about product development and the broader process of bringing their products to market, so they could make more informed decisions down the road. Our team consists of food scientists and chefs with rich, varied backgrounds and experiences so we can consistently offer expertise for any category, segment, diet, or process. We repeatedly have great relationships with our clients because of our ability to deliver award-winning products, provide honest input based on years of experience, and act as a support system even after formulations are finished.

Over the years we have made many friends in the food and beverage community. We often have current or past clients stopping by our lab to ask a follow-up question or just say hello. We are also a member of Naturally Boulder, a natural products community, where we frequent networking events and work with several other members (so many start-ups!) on exciting projects. Currently, we are also working towards our B Corp certification.

Make sure to visit our Resources page to stay up-to-date with the natural products industry and view other companies that can help get your products to market! 

 
about us
 

Our Team

 
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Dan Heiges

BS Food Science & Technology, University of Maryland

Dan has been in the natural and organic food industry for over 25 years and has expertise in product development, operational efficiency, manufacturing quality, and process improvement. He has developed well over 3,000 products for a variety of companies, ranging from start-ups to multinational corporations including ALTAR Herbal Martini, Guiltless Gourmet, Frito-Lay, Kroger, Made In Nature, Oh Baby Foods, Rhythm Superfoods, Sprout Baby Food, Whole Foods and Wild Oats. While at Wild Oats, Dan was integral in increasing sales of their private label brand from $41 million to $115 million in 3 years by introducing or re-launching over 2,000 SKUs. One of Dan's favorite recent projects was helping celebrity chef Tyler Florence bring his concept of organic gourmet baby food to market. In just 3 years, Dan helped Sprout Foods grow from just a few handwritten recipes to a $30 million company.

 

Claire Burnett

BS Food Science, University of Massachusetts
MS Food Science, Colorado State University

25+ years of food industry experience with concentration in the area of product development taking concepts from bench top through full scale production and market roll out. Involvement includes prototype development, formula reverse engineering, cost reductions, third party audits, ingredient functionality, ingredient research and sourcing, labeling/regulatory review, employee training, contract manufacturer relationships, food safety, and quality control.

Her history includes working with many established food companies including Nabisco, Budweiser, Hope Foods, Boulder Brands, Udi’s Gluten Free Foods, White Wave, Fresca Foods, Larabar, Epicurean Butter, Wild Oats Markets, Leprino Foods, Frontier Natural Brands, and Lightlife Foods. 

 
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Ryan Erwin

BS Food Chemistry, minor in Applied Food Science, Colorado State University

Trained Food Scientist with seven years of experience, specializing in food chemistry, quality assurance and targeted product development, primarily in the natural foods industry. Ryan's experience also includes oversight of manufacturer scale-up, product brainstorming, labeling consultation, sourcing of commercial ingredients, and all other steps in the concept to commercialization process. 

 

Rebecca Anderson

BA Hons French and Business, Newcastle University, UK
Leiths Diploma in Food and Wine, Leiths, London

After graduating from culinary school 9 years ago, she worked as a chef onboard private yachts before moving to Colorado and becoming a buyer for Whole Foods. Bringing her culinary experience to product development, her areas of expertise include baking, special diets and nutrition bars.

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Stephanie Brown

BS Business Administration, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Drexel University

Stephanie is a strategic brand marketer who is talented at turning ideas into programs, product storytelling, and leading teams to a common goal. She has close to a decade of marketing and branding experience with the majority in food and beverage CPGs. Stephanie has led brand management, budget allocation, process innovation, event coordination, and social media management for several brands large to small like Sara Lee, Arnold, Oroweat, Sodastream, Pravda, and MM Local.

 

Becky Conces

BS Dietetics, Western Michigan University

Becky brings over 20 years of diverse experience in the food and nutrition industry to Natural Development. Specializing in quality assurance system set-up and management, Becky provides support in areas such as regulatory compliance, process efficiency, cost optimization, procurement, logistics, line design, scale-up and R&D. She is certified in PCQI and HACCP and is also a SQF Practitioner. Her resume includes a variety of companies and products, start-up to corporate, sweet to savory, such as Kellogg’s, Otis Spunkmeyer, Rhythm Superfoods, YumEarth, Rip Van Wafels, Kettle & Fire and Nuttzo. 

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Bob Jenkins

Associates Degree in Applied Science, FRCC

Bob has over 35 years of experience working as a chef in Boulder, Colorado and has been working with Natural Development since 2013.  Bob's culinary experience and knowledge combined with his background in science is a major asset in product development. His work with Natural Development includes formula development, ingredient research and sourcing, formula reverse engineering and nutrition analysis. He has worked on an eclectic mix of projects including snacks, entrees, beverages, baby food, dog treats, nutrition bars, salsas, dips and more. 

 

Brian Strickland

Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Programme

With 17+ years of experience in culinary manufacturing and additional years of restaurant experience, Brian has worked all facets of the culinary production environment. He received his culinary degree at Le Cordon Bleu and went on to work with Blue Moose of Boulder for many years. Brian held many positions at Blue Moose of Boulder, eventually becoming Operations Manager, helping them grow across the Front Range and beyond. He joined the Natural Development team after working with Helix Foods where he was focused on R&D and the full-scale production of a small startup.

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