Women’s Equality Day is a day that was established on August 26, 1920 to commemorate the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment; which prohibited states from denying the right to vote on the basis of gender.
But while most people think only of women’s suffrage and inspiring figures like Susan B. Anthony when they think of women’s equality (day), this day no longer only represents the struggle for voting rates.
Instead, it represents an important step in the progress towards equal opportunity for women everywhere in the United States of America.
To celebrate this holiday, we want to highlight 10 women-owned small businesses in the food (or snack) category that have built their brands from the ground-up.
This list covers all sorts of foods, both sweet and savory, and includes everything from jerky to gourmet ice cream.
If you have any personal favorites that we haven’t mentioned, feel free to let us know in the comments!
10. Siete Foods
Image Source: Siete Foods
Family is at the center of the Siete Foods story.
The brand was developed when Victoria Garza, one of the seven (“siete”) founders of the Garza family from South Texas, was diagnosed with a series of autoimmune diseases.
Almost immediately, the family decided to adopt a healthier lifestyle together; which included exercising in their background, adopting a grain-free diet and even opening a CrossFit gym!
But the real game-changing and life-altering moment came when Victoria started making her now-famous grain-free tortillas.
They were an instant hit, and the family knew that the rest of the world would love it as much as they did.
In addition to tortillas, food company Siete Foods also creates taco shells, hot sauce, queso and dips and tortilla chips.
Their Tortilla Chips come in flavors that include Sea Salt, Lime, Nacho, No Salt, Fuego, Ranch, Sal Y Limon, etc.
Image Source: DŌ
As a young girl, Kristen Tomlan watched her mother (an accomplished cook book author and local cooking school instructor) make delicious foods for the family.
As a result, she developed a love of baking that inspired her to create her own company - a sweet shop specializing in edible cookie dough, called DŌ.
Before she started the company, she found time in between her busy schedule as a designer to rekindle her childhood love of baking.
But it wasn’t until a girl’s day/night out, - which included buying raw dough at a local cookie shop, and learning that she was allergic to gluten, which inspired her to turn a grain-free alternative into a confection on its own.
DŌ has several flavors of cookie dough, including Cake Batter, Salty and Sweet, Snickerdoodle, Gimme Smore, Fluffernutter as well as seasonal flavors including Blueberry Pancake and the Frosted Fork.
8. Fusion Jerky
Image Source: Fusion Jerky
Developed from recipes passed down by her Taiwanese-American family, KaiYen Mai, the founder of Bay Area-based Fusion Jerky, ‘fuses’ traditional Asian-style jerky-making with American flavors.
The handcrafted brand comes in flavors ranging from Rosemary Citrus, Grilled Island Teriyaki, Original Hickory, Cracked Pepper, Garlic Jalapeno and more.
Plus there is the added benefit that the brand’s products contain no added MSG, preservatives or nitrites and is gluten-free.
You can follow them on their official Instagram page here.
7. P.S. Snacks
Image Source: Vegan Essentials
CEO Nikki Azzara founded P.S. Snacks as a healthier plant-based alternative to sweet treats.
As a gluten-free foodie, the line was developed as she was experimenting with making snacks that satisfied both her cravings and dietary restrictions.
Originally marketed under her blog name, Slender Seven, the company is still based on the impressive ‘7 ingredients or less’ principles on which it began.
The first product in the P.S. Snacks line is a line of cookie doughs which use chickpeas and black beans as the base of the dough; making up over 65% of the recipe.
All of P.S. Snacks’ products are made without gluten, dairy, grains, soy and flour.
Current flavors offered includes Chocolate Chip, Fudge Brownie, and Peanut Butter.
Learn more about how Nikki turned her side-hustle into a profitable business on Birchbox.
6. Delighted By
Image Source: Go Dairy-Free
Delighted By is a line of vegan desserts made from chickpeas that can be used as dips or eaten as standalone treats.
It was created by founder Mackenzie Marzluff through a happy accident that involved using hummus as an alternative to cookie dough for a healthier super bowl party side dish.
The experiment was a success!
After her friends convinced her to turn the dessert into a product and sell it, Delighted By took off.
To date, the line comes in a handful of flavors, Edible Brownie Batter, Snickerdoodle Cookie, Creamy Vanilla Bean, Key Lime Pie, Milk Chocolate Fudge, Red Velvet Cake Batter (Seasonal), and Pumpkin Pie (Seasonal).
What to know more about Mackenzie? Check out this Q & A with the founder.
4. Sweet Loren’s
Image Source: Sweet Loren’s
Continuing with the trend of health-conscious but indulgent sweet treats, Sweet Loren’s is a food company that was developed to answer founder Loren Brill’s own question: How do I live a full life?
After beating cancer at a young age, she realized that every moment is precious and that in trying new things you can reach your highest purpose and potential.
Al of Sweet Loren’s products are made from simple ingredients, and are gluten-free, plant-based and non-GMO.
Her line of gluten-free Place & Bake cookies come in 4 flavors, including Chocolate Chunk, Fudgy Brownie, Sugar Cookie, and Oatmeal Cranberry; while her edible line of cookie doughs come in Chocolate Chunk and Birthday Cake.
Learn more about Loren in this interview with Eat Boutique.
3. Seattle Chocolates
Image Source: Seattle Chocolates
After a successful career as a marketer for Microsoft, CEO Jean Thompson decided she wanted a change of pace.
With no experience, but a self-taught drive to get things done, she turned her focus towards the world of chocolate-making and created the Seattle Chocolate brand.
To date the entire line is certified Kosher.
In addition, many of the bars are also vegan, gluten-free, or GMO project verified.
But it’s also her commitment to giving back to communities both at home and abroad that the brand.
Image Source: Seattle Chocolates - Jcoco
Jcoco is a special project dedicated to feeding hungry families in America.
Seattle Chocolate is also proud to be partnered with Rainforest Alliance; which has certified 37 of their chocolate bars with the fair trade cocoa seal (Look for the frog logo on the back of the bar).
The organization is dedicated to standardizing fairer practices in the sourcing of cocoa; As this has a direct impact on the farmers and the greater communities that grow it.
2. Wild Ophelia’s
Image Source: Wild Ophelia’s
Wild Ophelia’s is a line of chocolates that includes bars, peanut butter cups, and coffee bites.
The line was created under the Vosges Haut-Chocolat label, which were both developed by chocolatier and founder Katrina Markoff
The brand’s mission has always been to help girls and women achieve their dreams of starting their own food businesses.
Through her Accelerator Program, a yearly grant awarded to 3 high school or college girls, Markoff provides both the startup funds and mentorship needed to further develop their brands.
Learn more about the program here.
Wild Ophelia's products are Fair Trade and non-GMO.
The chocolate bar line includes flavors such as Confetti Cake & Sprinkles, Cookies N’ Cream, Hazelnut Cocoa Toast, and more.
Lastly, we feel that this showcase of women entrepreneurs wouldn’t be complete without another female-founded brand that has been so instrumental in helping other women succeed.
Originally called Stacy’s D’Lite, Stacy’s is a pita-based chip company that got its modest start selling pita sandwiches out of a food cart in New England.
Founded by Stacy Madison, the brand was initially funded with only a $5,000 investment, but was able to turn that into a $65 million business over the course of 22 years!
In addition to pita chips which are “Always baked, never fried”, Stacy’s has created the Rise Women project; which gives funding and mentorship to women-owned food businesses.
Well, there you have it!
Our list of 10 women-owned business enterprises provides an inspiring list of brands that are shaking up the food industry.
We’re delighted to feature the stories of women whose contributions to snack foods may not be as well known.
Be sure to let us know if you have any other favorites in the comments!
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