Women-owned food brands have made some remarkable strides in the food and beverage industry. In the past four years, the number of startups with at least one female founding member grew by approximately six percent, from 22 percent in 2017 to 28 percent in 2020. But women-founded and women-led startups still only make up a fraction of startups worldwide.
To celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8, there are countless woman-owned-and-operated food brands to support beyond the month of March. Whether it be gluten-free beer or sustainably-packaged healthy snacks, these women-owned food brands have managed to fill a niche in the food industry to bring all sorts of unique, high-quality food products into consumers’ homes.
1. Three Wishes
Mom of two Margaret Wishingrad started her cereal company Three Wishes when her first son Ellis was born, hoping to avoid filling her cupboards with cereals that were just “dessert masquerading as breakfast.” In 2019, Wishingrad decided to develop her own gluten-free, grain-free version of the staple.
Packed with protein and made of nutrient-dense ingredients rather than fillers like rice and corn, Three Wished is made of chickpea, tapioca and pea protein, and is sweetened only with organic cane sugar along with natural flavors including monk fruit and cinnamon.
The highly rated Cinnamon Three Wishes cereal, along with other flavors like Honey and Cocoa, can be found on the company’s direct-to-consumer (DTC) website and on Amazon, as well as in select retailers such as Whole Foods and Wegmans.
2. Holidaily Brewing Company
After surviving melanoma and thyroid cancer, Karen Hertz switched to a gluten-free (GF) diet, but she was unable to find a certified GF beer that could live up to its gluten-including counterparts. But thanks to years of research and taste testing, Hertz went on to successfully develop her own craft beer brewed with gluten-free millet and buckwheat. Since then, the Holidaily Brewing Company has found massive success.
One beer that is sure to impress those with Celiac and beer lovers alike is the Holidaily Riva Stout, a 6.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) stout with notes of licorice, coffee and chocolate. The Riva Stout, along with the brand’s many other GF beers, can be found online via the company’s DTC website as well as in taprooms and select beer stores across the US.
3. Beckon Ice Cream
While there are many lactose-free ice creams on the market, few are as rich and creamy as Beckon Ice Cream. Katy Flannery and Gwen Burlingame developed the ice cream, formed the company and worked their way up from tabling at their local farmer’s market to being placed in the ice cream aisle in major retailers.
Beckon Ice Cream’s popular Sea Salt Chocolate Chip flavor combines lightly salted vanilla with dark chocolate chips to form a uniquely flavored ice cream that customers wouldn’t know was lactose-free. Other flavors include Dark Chocolate Brownie, Peanut Butter Cup and Cookies & Sweet Cream, which can be found on the brand’s DTC website as well as in select retailers including Sprouts and Whole Foods.
With a focus on sustainability, full-time chef and mom Camilla Marcus developed a line of zero-waste plant-based food products inspired by the Los Angeles food scene, Westbourne. Rather than plastic, the company’s pantry staples are packaged in carbon-friendly glass, recycled boxes and sustainably sourced wood cellulose bags, making her products fully compostable and non-toxic.
Westbourne’s Chili Oil is just one of the company’s many sustainably packaged spice mixes that includes only simple ingredients and flavors uniquely “inspired by California,” such as organic olive oil, Aleppo peppers, ginger and garlic. The brand’s snacks, spices and pantry goods are available online through Westbourne’s DTC shop, and it also offers custom catering in select cities.
5. Prevail Jerky
While beef jerky is a snack food stereotypically consumed by men, Ashley Kohn wanted to change the narrative to include women. As a health-conscious Celiac with food allergies, Kohn founded Prevail Jerky after being unable to find high-protein snacks free from the top eight allergens. With the help of her husband Glen, Kohn created a beef jerky that could be enjoyed by all.
Prevail’s Original Beef Jerky, along with several other unique flavors, is 100 percent grass-fed, cherry-wood-smoked beef. Not only is it soy and gluten-free, but it’s also paleo and keto-certified. Previal’s products can be found online through the company’s DTC website as well as in select natural and health foods stores across the US.
When Jennifer Ross was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes during her childhood, the search for a tasty, zero-sugar beverage officially began. In 2015, Ross decided to take matters into her own hands with the help of her best friend and mother of three, Cristina Ros Blankfein. Swoon was born when the two reimagined classic drinks like iced tea and lemonade with plant-based ingredients, no artificial additives and zero sugar.
However, the beverages’ nutritional profile isn’t the only reason Ross and Blankfein’s drinks are so swoon-worthy. For every case of Swoon Lemonade, the company also donates one can to the Boys and Girls Club of Madison Square to support healthy eating in their clubhouses and food pantries. Swoon’s drinks can be purchased online via the company’s DTC shop or in select national retailers like Walmart.
These are just some of the many women-owned food brands that have found success in recent years. Be sure to look for others during Women’s History Month and on International Women’s Day on March 8 and beyond.