More than 124,000 businesses identify as Black-owned, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Every day is a good day to support Black-owned businesses, but with National Black Business Month taking place in August, now is an especially great time to get familiar with and continue to support Black-owned brands — particularly in food and drink.
The 17 food and beverage brands below are sure to become staples in your kitchen for years to come. Add them to your shopping list and stock up on everything from olive oil to vegan cheese.
Akera Sellers channeled her love of travel into a line of high-quality coffees and teas called Brickhouse Gourmet Coffee and Tea Co. This New York City-based company features several styles of coffee such as single-origin and light-roast Brazil Cerrado, and an impressive range of teas including loose-leaf Japan Sencha Green Tea and Sweet Apricot Tisane. The coffee beans and tea leaves are hand-picked from farms around the world.
The kettle corn from Major’s Project Pop is vegan, gluten-free and the perfect blend of salty and sweet. Options include an original flavor, 24-karat gold popcorn dusted with gold edible flakes and a limited-edition lemonade flavor released just for the summer. “We use the best organic and plant-based ingredients to offer a snack that can meet a variety of dietary preferences,” founder Chauniqua Major-Louis told HuffPost of her Florida-based company, which launched in 2014. “Everyone deserves a delicious snack without preservatives with simple ingredients that they can pronounce.”
SoliDairy Creamery may have just opened earlier this year, but the New Jersey-born ice cream brand is already making waves for flavors like Blueberry Lavender Honey, Mint Brownie and Orange Ginger. In addition to using locally sourced ingredients, SoliDairy Creamery partners with a New Jersey organization called Neighbors Without Addresses to provide a face mask to those in need for every pint purchased.
When California native Skyler Mapes launched EXAU Olive Oil with her Italian husband, Giuseppe Morisani, she became the first Black woman to co-own an olive oil brand. EXAU Olive Oil is made from olives found in Calabria, Italy, and the brand offers three extra virgin olive oil blends — Turi, Avus and Lina — all produced from the Morisani family’s olive trees.
Yemisi Awosan brings the flavors of her native Nigeria stateside with Egunsi Foods, a versatile line of soups and sauces. The soups are gluten-free and soy-free, and flavors include vegan options such as the creamy Gbegiri soup made from Nigerian Honey beans and the hearty, signature Egunsi Soup.
Island Pops may be based in Brooklyn, New York, but the ice cream shop and line of gourmet frozen treats are purely inspired by tropical destinations. Since launching in 2015, Island Pops owners Shelly Marshall and Khalid Hamid have introduced more than 50 year-round, seasonal and special event flavors, including Rum & Raisin, Coconut and Passion Fruit. “At Island Pops, we don’t only create Caribbean-inspired frozen desserts, but also nostalgia and longing,” Marshall told HuffPost. “When you come into the shop, our flavors leave you with deep-rooted feelings of nostalgia for where you’re from, where you have visited, and a longing for the islands if you’ve never been.” You can also order them online without having to visit the shop.
De Juana “De J.” Lozada started Soul Popped with just $53 in her bank account in 2016, and has since grown the brand of soul food-inspired popcorn into a successful business. Don’t expect ordinary popcorn flavors from Soul Popped ― the menu includes Chicken ’N Waffles, Banana Pudding, Heavenly Macaroni & Cheese and the Real Dill Sour Pickle.
Handmade in Baltimore, Maryland, Natasha’s Just Brittle combines sweet, crunchy brittle with everything from popcorn to chocolate-dipped pretzels. The menu also includes macadamia and cashew clusters, chocolate-dipped potato chips and chocolate-dipped bacon — all covered in Natasha’s famous brittle, of course.
Max Hardy is a restaurateur and celebrity chef whose travels throughout the African diaspora inspired this line of spices. Expect flavors such as Caribbean Curry, Hot Cajun and a Pork Rub that’s perfect for BBQ ribs.
Entrepreneur Aaliyah Nitoto is making a name for herself with Free Range Flower Winery, a line of floral-based wines that are all made without grapes. The “L” Lavender Wine is one of many popular options available, but the brand, which launched in 2018, is just getting started. “I love struggling to get the winemaking just right when I’m creating new flower wines,” said Nitoto, who is based in Oakland, California. “When customers take the time to tell me how they love the wine as much as I do, and that they’ve shared my wine with friends and family who also love it, that just gives me chills, and even makes me tear up sometimes. My wine bringing joy to others means everything.”
Made with just 11 ingredients, MylkDog serves up vegan nacho cheese that’s perfect for topping chips and adding to dips, soups and tacos. San Diego native Bethovan Enhancing came up with the cheese alternative while searching for healthy food his children would enjoy, and the two flavors — Original Notcho Cheez and Spicy Fiesta Queso — have been a hit ever since, he said.
Teff flour is an ancient grain that is a staple in Ethiopian and Eritrean dishes, but the team at Berhan Grains is on a mission to show just how versatile it can be. Sure, the gluten-free grain can be used to make the Ethiopian flatbread Injera, but it also works well as a base for desserts, pasta and pancakes.
Theoplois Vineyards, based in California’s Mendocino County, is a small but mighty wine brand founded by attorney and oenophile Theodora Lee. The Pinot Noir and Petite Syrah are the stars at Theopolis Vineyards, and the award-winning wines are known to sell out quickly when new vintages are released.
Naturade is one of the largest Black-owned natural supplement companies in the United States. The line includes plant-based protein shakes and nutritional shakes in a variety of flavors. Owners Claude Tellis and Kareem Cook said they hope Naturade can help reverse prediabetes in the Black community on a national scale. Naturade is available both online and in major retailers like Costco and Target.
Lilian Umurungi-Jung said she came up with the idea for Mumgry while unsuccessfully shopping for a snack that adhered to her strict pregnancy dietary restrictions. The Pistachio Chocolate Almond Butter alone is enough to set this brand of nut butters apart from its competitors, and additional flavors from the plant-based, dairy-free, gluten-free product line include Smooth Peanut Butter and Chocolate Peanut Butter.
Founded in Washington, D.C., by April Rashad and Ash’Leigh Gunn, Dwell Tea has a wide selection of loose-leaf teas, including lemon, chai, mint and peach flavors, as well as a DIY ImmuniTea Syrup Kit made from organic ingredients. The teas are just the beginning for these entrepreneurs, who are equally as passionate about building community around creativity and sustainability as they are about providing a premium product.
The next time you need to add crackers to your charcuterie board or cheese plate, reach for the gluten-free options from Portland, Oregon-based business The Cracker King. Founder Jovani Prince is committed to creating family-friendly artisanal snacks that don’t shy away from flavor, so expect options like Cheddar N’ Pepper and Rosemary & Salt. The crackers are gluten-free because they are made from white rice flour, and a portion of the company’s profits goes to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
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