8 Women-Founded Food & Beverage Brands You Need to Try
March is Women’s History Month. To be honest, it’s not a holiday I have celebrated much before. Lately however, I have become more aware of the importance of honoring those who have come before us, and those who continue to pave the way toward equality. This month I reflected on what it means to be a working woman, to have the ability to shape my own future, choose which passions to follow, and see a path that for many, has not been accessible. I am humbled and filled with gratitude to have spent this time appreciating those who have faced more adversity than I, those who have stood up for not just themselves but for their communities, those who are breaking down barriers and becoming “firsts” so that others can have an example to look up to, relate to, and discover courage within themselves.
So, how did I celebrate? It all started with an art history lesson given to me by my best friend. We discussed infamous painters including Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun and Artemisia Gentileschi. Next, I listened to some of my favorite musicians on repeat -- the only female to earn a top 10 Latin album on the charts last year, Kali Uchis, and if any of you know me personally, my top Spotify artist three years in a row, SZA. I followed up with two must-see documentaries about women in politics on Netflix, Knock Down the House and Becoming. And lastly, I wrote this article about women-founded brands I admire in food and beverage. There’s a long list of praise-worthy female-led brands I could have included here, this is just a few that have inspired me in some way. I hope you’ll give them a try!
Outer Aisle Gourmet
What started as a journey to live a more healthful life transformed into an unstoppable family business. While experimenting in the kitchen, founder Jeanne David discovered a recipe that would help her family remove processed carbs and sugars from their diet, while still enjoying comfort food classics like pizza and tacos. Jeanne rallied her husband and four sons to join in on a venture, and together they’ve revolutionized the bread industry with an unsuspecting ingredient, fresh cauliflower. Outer Aisle Gourmet’s grain and gluten-free pizza crusts and sandwich thins have become a go-to staple for those adhering to the low carb lifestyle, or anyone who wants to consume more veggie-forwarded foods. Amazingly, the brand self-manufactures and has remained independent, while simultaneously becoming Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing food brand in the U.S. and California’s 5th fastest growing private company in 2020. Jeanne is a shining beacon, exemplifying that leading women can break norms and break records.
Kween & Co.
Drippy, delicious spreadable granola goodness. Liquid teddy grahams is an unbelievably accurate description of Kween & Co.’s nut-free granola butter line. Made from organic rolled oats, golden flax, olive and coconut oil, and pure maple syrup, it’s hard to believe that this simple combination has created such a unique and unbelievably satisfying product. It’s also hard to believe that this product isn’t in every pantry across the globe -- but it’s on its way. ‘Influencer’ turned entrepreneur, Ali Bonar, is more than an innovator, she truly embodies what it means to be a mission-based founder. While many companies support noble causes, Ali has used Kween & Co. as a platform to share her personal challenges with food and body image, and through that aims to help others dealing with similar experiences. I admire Ali for her honesty and willingness to explore tough topics like these. Her podcast, Alicast, dives into relatable and informative discussions including business, body image, and mindset, providing a raw look at what modern women deal with on a daily basis.
There are some brands that make you love the founder, and there are some founders that make you love the brand. Celeste Perez is one of those people whose personality just shines through everything she does. When I first received a shipment of Droplet in the mail, it was one of the most memorable unboxing experiences I’ve had. There were no fancy gimmicks or over the top marketing ploys, but instead it highlighted the brand’s beautifully designed packaging which immediately drew me in. That was intentional. Celeste created Droplet out of her own desire to have a beverage that was made by women, for women. The brand’s identity is built around the idea of self-care, featuring a satisfying sparkle of carbonation, adaptogens that nurture, and a story that inspires women to take control of their stress. The drinks taste really delicious, too. It’s been a joy to follow Celeste’s journey with Droplet. Her previous experience as a brand builder, her clear passion and drive, and her advocacy for AAPI women has made her more than just a business-savvy powerhouse, but a truly refreshing person to learn from.
What do you do when a family staple, like homemade hummus, no longer fits the low carb dietary preferences of your household? For Nadia Gara, it was an opportunity to explore new ingredients, aside from chickpeas, that could serve as the hero in her beloved savory dips. With the help of the rising star vegetable, cauliflower, Nadia created a fresh take on hummus that checks all the boxes: low carb, plant-based, delicious and healthy. Paired with flavorful sidekicks like harissa, green olives and garlic, cauliflower hummus became the jumping off point for Nadia’s new brand, Naya’s Natural Foods (named after her daughter), which now has chip and dip snack packs, and plans to expand further into Mediterranean-inspired foods. This isn’t Nadia’s first food brand, she previously founded Argania Nut Butters, introducing Moroccan cuisine to U.S. consumers. Now she’s raising capital to take this new concept beyond DTC, and my fridge. I’m waiting patiently to see her line enter my local grocery stores. It’s always exciting to see women-led brands redefine categories and make healthy, thoughtful foods more accessible.
In my humble opinion, there’s nothing better than a good cup of coffee. That’s why the first time I tried nutpods’ dairy-free creamers, I called my mom immediately to tell her about it. You see, my mom had been searching for a dairy-free creamer with the same taste and texture that she’d grown accustomed to over the years, without all the sugar and strange ingredients. It turns out, our story is not unique. In fact, it’s that same desire that inspired Madeline Haydon to start nutpods in the first place. About a year later, when I had the opportunity to meet Madeline, I told her how grateful my mom and I were that she created the perfect creamer for us. Madeline was genuinely thrilled to hear about our experience, and on the spot asked if she could send my mother a gift box. It was right around holidays, so the whole family enjoyed the collection, and I still have nutpods socks in my drawer to this day. Her warmth and generosity has made our family lifelong customers, my mom even takes her nutpods on the go!
Rich, bright sauces bursting with Caribbean-inspired flavors. Bazodee founder and Sauce Boss, Debra Sandler, is bottling her family’s recipes and introducing a new taste palate to curious consumers like myself. While I might not think to combine ingredients like papaya, mustard, bell peppers and habaneros into a marinade or dip, Debra’s Aunt Mavis has been whipping them into delicious home cooked meals for their family long before I knew how to cook. A previous executive at companies including PepsiCo, Mars and Johnson & Johnson, Debra is taking the experience from her extraordinary career and employing it to share incredible island flavors that haven’t quite made it to the U.S. yet. I’ve enjoyed their spicy Soca Sauce and herbaceous Marvelous Marinade with many plant-based chicken wings. For those looking to incorporate new flavors into their cooking routine without much effort, Bazodee is an excellent choice.
In the industry, most people have a few favorite “must-see” booths at every trade show. For me, Miyoko’s Creamery is at the top. My fridge is always stocked with their cultured vegan butter and farmhouse cheddar, although there’s a larger selection of other items to rotate through as well. I’m still anxious to experience the brand’s much anticipated grilled cheese truck, which I missed out on when Expo West was cancelled in 2020. But Miyoko’s found a way to keep the show on the road, delivering plant-based meals to frontline workers at hospitals during the pandemic. That’s not the brand’s only good deed. The Certified B Corp has compassion at the heart of everything they do. Founder Miyoko Schinner started Rancho Compasión, a non-profit animal sanctuary, to help care for rescued farm animals. Beyond that, the brand has also implemented a program to help struggling dairy farmers convert their operations to plant agriculture. Miyoko is both a pioneer in the plant-based food sector and a Phenomenally Vegan revolutionary.
OHi Food Co.
Finding time for breakfast has always been a challenge for me, and many others I’m sure. I tend to be extremely picky about what I consume before noon and most days coffee is my only fuel. The first time I tried OHi’s superfood bars, I was amazed. This bar is one of the few foods I find entirely acceptable to consume in the morning, any given day of the week. The sweet and salty flavor, while unbelievably delicious, isn’t overbearing to my awakening taste buds, and the texture is both satisfyingly crunchy and melt-in-your-mouth creamy all at the same time. Made from organic coconut, cacao butter, seeds, nuts, dried fruits and functional ingredients, these refrigerated bars are fresh and nutritious. Founder Dawn Anderson has crafted something that’s truly unlike anything else on the market. She’s somehow found a way to make a “Supergreen” bar my breakfast of choice, although Coconut Macadamia is a close second. Her vision to help consumers enjoy fresh, whole foods in a convenient format is one worth celebrating.
So, which of these women-founded brands are you ordering first? Let us know! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org