Natural Products Consulting

Field Manual

Bob Burke

As a consultant since 1998, Bob Burke provides assistance in bringing natural, organic and specialty products to market across most classes of trade. This includes work in strategic planning, growth strategies, writing sales, marketing and business plans, budgeting, pricing, building distribution, broker selection and management, organizational development, strategic options, financing, branding, trade spending management and assistance around M&A, due diligence and venture strategy groups. He is also the co-author and co-publisher of the Natural Products Field Manual, Sixth Edition, The Sales Manager’s Handbook and Staking out Space on the Supermarket Shelf. Prior to consulting, Bob was with Stonyfield Farm Yogurt for 11 years as Vice President, Sales & Corporate Development and Vice President, Marketing & Sales. He has held marketing positions with Colombo, Inc. and Sperry Top-Sider. He received an MBA from Babson College.

Clients: Have had the privilege of working with and learning from exciting companies such as: Annie’s Homegrown, Oregon Chai, Snyder’s of Hanover, UNFI, No Pudge!, Kraft Foods, Bayer Consumer Care Division, ConAgra, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Stacy’s Pita Chips, Kettle Cuisine, Small Planet Foods, New Hope Natural Media, Bushes Beans, Equal Exchange, Stirrings, Immaculate Baking, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Dancing Deer Bakery, The Natural Dentist, Rice Select, EcoFish, PMO Wildwood, S.C. Johnson, Blake’s All Natural Foods, Megafood/BioSan, Mighty Leaf Tea, Lesser Evil Snack Co., Theo Chocolate, The Jane Goodall Institute, Kashi, Project 7, Vermont Butter and Cheese, Yoghund, Bord Bia, American Halal, Orgain, Turtle Island, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Bausch + Lomb, Boehringer Ingleheim, Harbar LLC, Rhino Foods, Popcorn Indiana, Stonehouse 27, The ProBar, Hail Merry, Mamma Chia, 479 Popcorn, Heel USA, Nature’s Path, Pfizer, E & A Industries, Dave’s Gourmet, Via Sana, Sopexa USA, Mavea, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, Bob’s Red Mill, New England Natural Bakers, Quantum Health, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Califia Farms and others.

He currently serves as an outside director for EcoFish, American Halal, Orgain, and King Arthur Flour. He serves on the advisory boards of Soapbox Soaps, Smart Flour Foods, Exo, The Chaat Co., and Accel Foods. He is a former director of Stonyfield Farm, Equal Exchange, Stirrings, Wildwood, Nutrabella, FoodState Inc. and the Specialty Food Association. He is on the Selection Committee at Nutrition Capital Network. He is the Co-Chair of the Specialty Food Association’s Natural and Organic Council. He also serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of Nutrition Business Journal. He serves as a Beachheads Advisor with New Zealand Trade & Enterprise. He is also on the board of directors of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Bob was named one of the “Top 25 Business Builders of the Natural Products Industry for the last 25 years” by Natural Foods Merchandiser Magazine. He was also named an inaugural Senior Fellow at Food Sol, within the Lewis Institute at Babson College.

He has been qualified as an expert witness in federal court on the subject of the sales and marketing of natural, organic and specialty products.

Bob has delivered presentations, seminars and moderated panels at leading trade shows and conferences such as Natural Products Expo East & West, The Specialty Food Association’s Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows, OTA’s “All Things Organic Trade Show and Conference”, Nutrition Capital Network, International Keynote speaker at Innovest in Auckland, New Zealand, Natural Products Europe in London, Bord Bia in Dublin, Canadian Consulates in Boston and Chicago, Quebec Delegation in Boston, Kosherfest in New York, The Soyfoods Conference, Agrifood Trade Services in Nova Scotia, Saskatoon and Quebec, the CHFA Expo East in Toronto, BevNet Live and BevNet’s FBU in New York and Santa Monica, the Global Access Advisors conference in Melbourne, Australia, the National Health Store Conference in London, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise educational programs throughout New Zealand, and has been a featured trainer and speaker at Management Venture Institute forums. He is also a presenter and panelist at the Stonyfield Entrepreneurial Institute Boot Camp. He authored the NASFT’s White Paper on Trade Promotion.

He also runs full day seminars and networking events on “Becoming a more Effective Sales Manager in the Natural and Specialty Channel”, “Financing your Natural and Specialty Products Company” and “Making Your Supply Chain a Business Strength”.

Bob lives in Andover, MA with his wife, Kathy and four children: Conor, Caitlin, Devin and Rory.


Rick McKelvey

Rick brings twenty five years of experience within the natural products industry.  In addition to owning Putney Foods, LLC, a regional frozen-filled pasta company, he also serves as contract Director of Sales for several natural product companies. Rick co-founded the Natural Products Consulting Institute in 2000. Prior to Putney, he was Director of Sales for Fairfield Farm Kitchens where he spent five years launching over 40 frozen organic entrees and fresh organic soups. Under Rick’s guidance the company emerged as the #1 national brand of organic meat based entrees and organic fresh soup with annual sales of $6 million. Fairfield Farm Kitchens was sold to Blue Marble Foods, the branded division of United Natural Foods, Inc.

The bulk of Rick’s career was spent as Vice President of Sales and Marketing with Lightlife Foods, Inc. He joined the husband and wife-run business as its first Sales Manager at less than $1 million in sales. Rick’s creation and implementation of growth plans resulted in the profitable expansion of sales to $25 million, and eventual sale to Con Agra Foods. Under Rick’s leadership, Lightlife emerged as the number one fresh meatless company (vegetarian hot dogs, luncheon “meats,” sausages, etc.), with nationwide distribution through natural product outlets. Rick also successfully navigated the “cross-over” of the brand into the supermarket trade nationally; becoming the top-selling fresh meatless brand in the U.S. Rick also led the company’s efforts in Lightlife’s food service, private label, and international business.

Rick has served on the board, and as a past president, of the Soyfoods Association of North America, and in the community as board member of the local Y.M.C.A. and has served several executive positions within his church. Rick is also co-founder with Bob of the G.E.N.A. Group and holds an MBA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He lives in the small country town of Conway, MA, where he loves to work around his home and spend time with his wife of 25 years, Lynn, and his children, Matthew and Meaghan