All 2020, it has been at the top of our minds to support Black-owned everything, With Thanksgiving arriving tomorrow (Nov. 26), it serves — get it? — as the perfect opportunity to spotlight some dope Black food-preneurs who are putting on for the culture in the food game.
Like many other industries, the food and restaurant scene is known to be extremely homogenized — dominated by most white men. Thanks to these fearless chefs and entrepreneurs who weren’t afraid to bet on their dreams, the world of commercial food has broadened and provided us all with a blueprint.
Check out seven Black brands making waves in the food industry below.
1. Partake Foods
If you see this packaged food company on shelves at your local Target or Walgreens, invest in it for your next snack break. According to Partake Foods’ website, the brand’s famous recipes were developed after founder Denise Woodard struggled to find healthy snacks that agreed with her daughter’s food allergies. Woodard took matters into her own kitchen and just like that, her company was born. Partake’s cookie recipes exclude all of the common allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, wheat, milk, soy, fish, and shellfish. JAY-Z is a big fan of the brand, we well. His Marcy Venture Partners led a $1 million investment into the company.
2. The Spice Suite
Five years ago, Howard University alum Angel Gregorio was working as an educator when she walked past a vacant retail space. According to an interview with ESSENCE, she says the idea to open a spice shop immediately popped in her head as if it had been dropped off by the universe. She wasted no time securing that retail space and the rest was history. Today, Gregorio travels all over the world to find unique flavorful spices that she then combines into hand-tossed seasoning blends. Her Washington D.C. brick and mortar location draws in lines around the block, and her monthly online spice boxes sell out within minutes. That should let you know how delicious this food boss’ creations are. Most recently, The Spice Suite teamed up with singer Kelis’ Bounty & Full sauce brand to release a collaborative spice box, which also sold out in minutes. They’ve promised more boxes are coming...so hold on to your coins.
3. Iya Foods
Iya Foods was founded by Toyin Kolawole, who wanted to pay homage to her Nigerian roots with her company. After moving to the United States, she says her palette was open to popular ethnic cuisines like Mexican and Japanese food. She was disappointed, however, to notice a lack of representation for African food. “By that time, I had two boys, who are now 14 and 11. I wanted them to have a positive experience with the Nigerian aspect of their heritage because they were born here,” she told Food Drive. Iya Foods offers a host of seasoning blends, baking mixes and soups that celebrate African flavors, but can be used in a variety of traditional dishes.
4. Symphony Potato Chips
André Anderson, a Black retired Las Vegas chef, originally had his heart set on creating a spice company. He went forth with his plan by seasoning potato chips with his 28-spice blend at grocery store demos. Customers loved the seasoning, but couldn’t stop raving about the chips. That’s when Symphony Chips came to life. Its unique flavor profiles include original, smoked and balsamic. Rumor has it that these chips will have you shamelessly licking your fingers...but you didn’t hear that from us.
5. Swag Brownie Barz
You’ve never really had a brownie until you’ve had Swag Brownie Barz. The company was started by Amy Staten, a self-taught baker from Fort Worth, Texas who has built a steady brand and loyal following because of her delicious creations. Like many other companies on this list, her products sell like hotcakes and customers always come back for more. When you hear of Swag’s unique flavors like white chocolate and cranberry or stuffed Nutella Oreo, it’s proof that you’ll never get bored of the dessert selection from this Black-owned bakery. It’s also worth noting that Swag Brownie Barz are made to order and come in small batches, which means you’ll be getting quality in each order.
6. Trade Street Jam
This Black woman-owned jam company is blowing its competition out of the water with some out-of-the-box flavor combinations that are high-key addicting. Ashley Rouse started experimenting with making homemade jams in her kitchen while living on Trade Street in Charlotte, North Carolina. With exotic combinations like sour cherry ginger and Blackberry Mulled Merlot, Trade Street Jam’s products aren’t just limited to toast. You can spread them on sandwiches, shake them up in cocktails or combine with other ingredients to make marinades.
7. Capital City Mambo Sauce
Washington D.C. and its famed condiment “Mambo sauce” go hand in hand. But, if you’re not immediately located in or near the DMV area, Capital City Co. is coming through to deliver that heat — or, that mild...whichever you prefer. The company was founded and is owned by Charles and Arsha Jones. According to the brand’s website, Arsha, who is a Washington, D.C. native; began to miss this sauce she grew up on after moving to the suburbs. She started recreating it for her family, and decided to bottle up her tangy, sweet creation to sell. It was her best idea yet because now the whole world can get in on this D.C. staple.