16 Delicious Snack Food Brands Founded by Women of Color
It’s not hard to support these women-owned brands, offering up some of the most delicious and sustainable snack foods on the market.
Women are powerhouses in so many industries, but they’ve especially made their mark in the snack food aisle. In particular, women of color are increasingly celebrating their ethnicities, heritage, and culture by sharing addictive and sustainable snacks with the rest of us—so it’s only fair that we support them by stuffing our faces.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we pulled together some of our favorite snack food brands that are owned and run by BIPOC women. Here you’ll find treats running the gamut from sweet to savory: think lychee gummy bears, jalapeño cheddar biscuits, truffle popcorn, and matcha chocolate bars with caramelized sesame (just to name a few). Now start shopping and start snacking.
TAGMO was founded as an Indian confectionary company in 2019 by chef Surbhi Sahni, opening a storefront restaurant in New York’s South Seaport district this past September. Sahni, a self-describes “proud queer Indian female chef and entrepreneur”, uses her training and signature artistry to bring South Asian mithai (sweets) into the mainstream, selling treats both in-store and online. Get an introductory taste with TAGMO’s new Holi Collection box, which includes springtime staples like thandai burfi (a sweet fudge made with white chocolate and almonds) and besan ladoo (sweet balls made with ghee and cardamom).
Ayeshah Abuelhiga developed a love of biscuits at a young age, growing up in a Baltimore soul food restaurant owned by her immigrant parents (mom from Korea, dad from Palestine). After college, she decided to open a restaurant and make the delicious, flaky goodies herself. She soon expanded into the world of frozen foods, and Mason Dixie biscuits and breakfast sandwiches are now stocked in over 5,000 stores nationwide (use this handy store finder to locate the one closest to you). You can buy biscuits in flavors like jalapeño cheddar and pumpkin spice, or the sausage sandwiches made with buttermilk and cheddar biscuits—all made without preservatives.
Chauniqua Major-Louis (or “Major”) always loved popcorn, but wasn’t a huge fan of the piles of preservatives and endless lists of ingredients. That led her to create Major’s Project Pop, a line of organic, non-GMO kettle corn made with virgin coconut oil, vegan cane sugar, and Himalayan pink salt. The Orlando-based Major now sells her products online, including the kettle corn and cute popcorn-themed swag. Her “People Over Profit” popcorn is a particularly apt representation of her brand, with a portion of proceeds from each sale going to Black-led nonprofits that advocate for education and fight against hunger in marginalized communities.
When Thereasa Black was deployed for 13 months during her daughter’s infancy, she vowed to find an alternative way to provide for her child while never having to leave her again. So she traded her military uniform for a chef’s apron and created Bon AppéSweet, a brand of chocolates made with only three ingredients: cacao powder, cocoa butter, and dates. You can find her products at various markets and food co-ops across the country or online—we recommend the Chocolate Variety Pack, which comes with one bar each of the Deep Dark, Sea Salted Almond, Better Than Milk Chocolate, On the Mark, and Golden Chocolate bars.
Beef, chicken, pork, turkey. Hickory, lemon pepper, chipotle lime, rosemary citrus. The possibilities are endless and the results are delicious. Founded by KaiYen Mai, who grew up eating her family's traditional Asian jerky in the Bay Area, Fusion Jerky takes those jerky-making techniques and marries them to classic American flavors. The result is an all-natural jerky that is gluten-free, high in protein, low in sodium, and without preservatives.
28-year-old Arab-American Mayssa Chehata collaborated with chef and confectionary expert Elizabeth Falkner to create this line of healthier gummy candy in gourmet flavors, which now include lychee, raspberry, and passionfruit (and are available in sweet and sour varieties). And while it’s hard to believe there’s such a thing as "healthy" candy that tastes good, these delicious bears have less than a gram of sugar and a whopping 6 grams of protein per serving. Sorry, Haribo.
If you’re not familiar with the ancient grain teff, these puffs will have you wondering where it’s been all your life. Popular in Ethiopia where founder Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is from, hearty black teff is packed with protein and fiber and incidentally makes an ideal crunchy puff. Alemu, a successful entrepreneur who's launched multiple businesses (including a popular footwear company), is dusting her puffs with two different flavors: her Mom’s signature spicy Ethiopian Mitmitta—a special blend of Ethiopian Devil Pepper, garlic, ginger, and sea salt—and Ethiopian jalapeño and coriander. These puffs are not for the spice-averse, but those who can stand the heat will quickly fall in love.
If you consider soup a snack, have we got the perfect snack for you. These ready-to-heat-and-eat soups use authentic West African flavors and recipes that are rooted in founder ‘Yemisi Awosan’s Nigerian heritage. Awosan moved to the U.S. as a teenager and began cooking to remind herself of home and introduce her culture to her American friends. She founded Egunsi in Harlem in 2017 and now offers a variety of different soup flavors, including Lemongrass Chicken Pepper, Crayfish Chicken, Gbegiri (Brown Eyed Pea), Obe Ata (West African Tomato), and Peanut Butter Groundnut. Most ingredients are sourced locally in New York and New Jersey—except for Nigerian ingredients like brown eyed peas and egunsi melon seeds, which she imports from Ghana and Nigeria.
Do you love popcorn but hate the kernels? Pipcorn is here to save the day. Sister and brother Jen and Jeff Martin along with Jeff’s wife Teresa founded Pipsnacks in 2012 when they discovered a delicious popcorn from an heirloom seed being grown in Indiana. They started out selling their freshly popped hull-free corn at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn and are now carried in grocery stores across the country. Today their popcorn comes in four flavors (sea salt, cheddar, truffle, and vegan caramel) and they’ve added other snacks to their lineup like heirloom Cheese Balls, Cheeto-like Crunchies, Corn Dippers, and gluten-free crackers, which are made from the upcycled corn flour leftover from the cheese balls.
Doing what many might only dream about, Michiko Marron-Kibbey and her husband decided to leave their established careers behind, pack up everything they owned, and moved to Paris to pursue their passions of pastry (hers) and wine (his) in 2015. In 2017, Michiko attended the internationally recognized Ferrandi culinary school and later worked at Mori Yoshida, a Franco-Japanese pastry and chocolate shop in the 7th Arrondissement. More recently, she returned to California and started her own chocolate company inspired by Japan and France in Los Gatos. She makes bon bons and bars in flavors like dark chocolate miso almond and matcha and caramelized sesame, along with miso and Japanese pepper caramels and cream caramels with sake.
When Denise Woodard’s daughter, Vivienne, was diagnosed with severe food allergies as a baby, her go-to snacks were suddenly off-limits. So, she quit her corporate job to make her own allergen-free snacks. Partake cookies have no gluten, peanuts, eggs, soy, dairy, tree nuts, sesame, GMOs, artificial flavors, or preservatives. And with flavors like Birthday Cake, Carrot Cake, and, of course, Chocolate Chip, they’re still tasty! Best of all, there are crunchy and soft varieties, as Woodard clearly understands the deepest of cookie divides and really does want to provide her sweet snacks to all.
If you think of jam as both super sweet and incredibly viscous, Ashley Rouse is here to change your mind. Her Trade Street Jam Co. is known for its culinary-inspired fruit-forward flavors like Sour Cherry Ginger, Strawberry Chipotle & Fig, and Blueberry Lemon Basil. Rouse was a chef for 15 years before starting her company in Brooklyn in 2016. All of her jams are vegan, low sugar, and don’t use pectin or preservatives, which means these jams will be less thick and viscous than more standard store-bought varieties.
Priyal Bhartia and Nadine Habayeb have brought a popular Indian snack food Stateside with Bohana: popped water lily seeds. Water lilies shed their seeds once a year and the small kernels are then gathered and popped. Bohana’s are sustainably farmed in Bihar, India, and then air-popped to create a satisfying crunch reminiscent of a cross between popcorn and Pirate’s Booty. The treat comes in both savory and sweet flavors, including Wild White Cheddar, Himalayan Pink Sea Salt, Soulful Sriracha Spice, Sweet Cinnamon Drizzle, and Sea Salt Chocolatey Drizzle. Even better? The seeds are full of nutrients, high in amino acids and antioxidants, and boast three grams of protein per serving.
These savory crispy sticks are made from amaranth seed and cactus paddles (nopales), a diet staple in Mexico, where founder Regina Trillo grew up. When she moved to Chicago in 2011, Trillo—who also works as a human rights lawyer—had a hard time finding the sort of savory and nutritious crunchy snack she was craving. So she decided to make them herself, and created Holisticks in Mexican-inspired flavors like Smoky Chipotle, Chili Turmeric, Spirulina Lime, and Churro (the only sweet option, made from cinnamon and dates). They're great straight from the bag, sprinkled on salads or grain bowls, or turned into the base for nachos. And you can feel good about eating them too as nopales are naturally high in fiber and antioxidants and Regina sources hers from sustainable and organic farms in Mexico.
Julia Collins created Moonshot Crackers to help tackle climate change. No, really. Grains are sourced from farmers using regenerative agricultural practices that help improve soil health and restore the natural carbon cycle and make soil more resilient. Healthier soil means more nutrient-dense and flavorful food. Moonshot Crackers are also vegan, organic, and carbon neutral. The sourdough crackers are made with sustainably sourced stone-milled Edison wheat and sunflower oil grown on regenerative farms, and other flavors include Tomato Basil and Rosemary Garlic.