30+ Women-Founded Food Businesses We Love to Stock From
Let’s honor International Women’s Day March 8, and always.
Women deserve to be celebrated 365 days a year, and March 8, International Women’s Day, is a welcome reminder. While it may seem obvious to us now that women should be afforded equal rights and opportunities, including the right to open a business, it was only a few decades ago that it was legal to bar women from applying for credit cards or loans on the basis of their sex. Women have come a long way since then — and though the U.S. still has much to achieve before it reaches true gender equity — these dynamic, women-owned businesses are worth celebrating. Here are some of our favorite food businesses that also happen to be founded by women.
Nguyen Coffee Supply is the first Vietnamese American-owned importer and roaster of green coffee beans from Vietnam in New York. Based in Brooklyn, Sahra Nguyen roasts organic beans that are proudly sourced from a fourth-generation farmer, Mr. Ton, in Vietnam’s famous Central Highlands. Nguyen is aiming to change coffee culture in the U.S. — and bring true Vietnamese coffee direct to consumers. The company offers bold and beautiful blends of robusta and arabica beans that will have you making Vietnamese coffee, in all its styles (including mixed with condensed milk), in no time. Grab a phin filter to brew your coffee the traditional Vietnamese way, while you’re at it!
In Farsi, Maazah means flavor. And the Sajadys are big fans of flavor. The mother and three-daughter team created a company dedicated to Afghan-style chutneys, a versatile condiment that can come in a variety of forms. Some are chunky; some are smooth. Some sweet, savory, tangy or spicy. Maazah’s current offerings are a play on Mom’s "Magic Green Sauce," a cilantro and ginger chutney with secret herbs added in. It’s simple yet addictive, plus gluten-free and vegan.
Named affectionately after her grandmother Estelle, also known as "Big Mama," Stephanie Summerson Hall’s company offers a modern revival of vintage-colored glasses. Inspired by the antique shop "treasure hunts" she embarked on with her grandmother, Hall brings to life dazzling colored glassware — delicate cake stands, drink glasses, decanters and more. The pieces are best described as "jewels for your table" and will no doubt be the crowning glory of any spread.
Sana Javeri Kadri is decolonizing the spice trade. Through Diaspora Co., Javeri Kadri is bringing sustainable, heirloom seed-grown spices from farmers straight to you. By closing the gap between source and consumer — skipping the long line of middlemen — the company is building a more equitable spice trade, and equipping cooks with fresher spices that shine with flavor most of us have been missing. Take the brand’s black peppercorn, for instance. Described as akin to a "beautiful red wine," with notes of chocolate, jam, fig and a "feisty citrusy finish," Diaspora Co.’s Aranya Pepper is so good it’s worth savoring, rather than being blithely employed. With all the dishes pepper is added to, just think of how much better everything you already eat will taste.
Jeni Britton Bauer is a pioneer of artisan ice cream, and the founder and creative genius behind Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. With an aim to bring people together and "make sparks fly" through "REALLY" great ice cream, Jeni’s collection includes unconventional flavors like Everything Bagel and ones you already know will taste amazing, like Skillet Cinnamon Roll. Drawn from flavors you love, but ones you didn’t know you could have in a pint, Jeni’s ice creams will take you somewhere special no matter which one you dig into.
Sisters Vanessa and Kim Pham created Omsom, a company dedicated to bringing "proud, loud Asian flavors to your fingertips" with meal starter packets. Currently offered in six varieties: Larb, Lemongrass BBQ, Sisig, Yuzu Misoyaki, Spicy Bulgogi and Mala Salad, the stylishly designed packets are bound to become your next pantry staple. Each one comes with its own set of directions, but they all generally require just a few fresh ingredients and a packet — filled with the exact amount of all the sauces, oils and seasonings you need — to make quick, delicious meals that pay proper homage to the cultures behind them.
When long-lost sisters Robin and Andréa McBride met in 2005, they bonded over their love of wine. Today, they own the largest Black-owned wine company in the United States. Order the McBride Sister’s Black Girl Magic Collection and their award-winning SHE CAN Collection, which supports the SHE CAN Professional Development Fund. The fund aims to promote the professional advancement of Black women in the wine industry — thereby helping to close the gender and race gap — by providing fund-awarded scholarships.
On a mission to bring the "dark as hell, strong as death, sweet as love" Turkish coffee and chocolate she grew up with to the U.S., Melis Aydogan created Rüya Coffee. Named after the Turkish word for "dream," the Cincinnati-based business is inspired by Aydogan’s parents’ immigrant dream, as well as a hope to "change the narrative of immigrants in the U.S.," for all "to feel welcome." One way of changing that narrative? Over Turkish coffee and through the cathartic intimacy of a centuries-old practice — tasseography a.k.a. interpreting the patterns of coffee grounds to tell fortunes. Virtual fortune telling sessions from Aydogan herself are included with Rüya’s Turkish Coffee Kits.
Mambo sauce aims to provide a sweet and tangy sauce for wings and just about anything else. Growing up in Washington D.C., Arsha Jones loved mambo sauce, the city’s signature condiment. So, when she moved to the suburbs, she founded her own company to bring the sauce she was missing to her family and the masses.
Founder Shiza Shahdid believes in the power of home cooking to bring people together. And with that belief, she created Our Place and the cult-favorite Always Pan — a single pan that promises to replace eight traditional pieces of cookware — to make home cooking, and creating a welcoming table setting, a little more seamless. Currently offered in seven colors that will bring joy to everything you cook, the Always Pan keeps your kitchen uncluttered and dirty dishes to a minimum, so you can save all your energy for the important stuff: sharing meals with people you love.
Monica Sunny grew up sipping chai, a ritual woven into her family’s daily ritual. In an effort to instill the same ritual, family chai time, in her three boys, she began creating The Chai Box — a company that sells various blends of teas and spices, inspired by different regions of India. From an ode to traditional masala chai to one that smells of mangoes to another speckled with rose petals, Sunny’s wide range of blends will bring you comfort in a cup, no matter what you’re craving.
Merve Aydin Doran’s family has been producing olive oil in Turkey for generations, so it’s no wonder she goes through a bottle a week. Each bottle of Oleamea olive oil is made using local olives cultivated through organic farming practices, and the whole process is fueled through solar energy. To introduce your kitchen to these oils, we recommend starting with the gift pack to give the everyday oil and private select bottle a try.
One bite into these handmade, small-batch cookies, and you’re transported to Maui. Started in 2012 by Mitzi Toro, a.k.a. The Maui Cookie Lady, these super-thick, chunky slices of Hawaiian heaven include local flavors like Kona Coffee Dark Choc Espresso, White Chunk Mac Nut and Pineapple Lychee Passion w/ Hibiscus Flower & White Tea. They’re available for delivery throughout the country; the only issue you’ll have is deciding how many to order.
Milene Jardine draws inspiration for her artisanal sweets from around the world, including a Taiwanese-inspired black plum and a Norwegian-influenced beer and cloudberry. Royals, politicians and celebrities enjoy her chocolates, and you can, too. Order Milene Jardine chocolate online, which ships nationwide.
Jing Gao is behind Fly By Jing, a Sichuan condiment company named after herself, and the "flies," or soulful, hole-in-the-wall restaurants that are so popular in her hometown of Chengdu that they "attract people like flies." Jing’s signature sauces include Sichuan Chili Crisp, Mala Spice Mix and Zhong Sauce, all of which are not necessarily traditional, but her personal takes on the famous Chinese condiments. Within her sauces, Jing says, you’ll find her story. Each one is versatile — add to noodles, pizza, ice cream, anywhere you’d drizzle hot sauce over for an electrifying, one-of-a-kind zing.
Mississippi’s first and only meadery is bringing a bit of sweetness to the South. What began as a hobby for Jeri Carter turned into a love affair with the honey-based wine. Her award-winning bottles, which can be shipped nationwide, come in blackberry and grape varieties.
We don’t know about you, but we definitely scream for ice cream, especially Noona’s Ice Cream. Hannah Bae started Noona’s, meaning 'big sister' in Korean, to give ice cream lovers culturally diverse flavors, including Thai Iced Tea and Black Sesame. As their website mentions, "Diversity is delicious!"
Summer and Kam Johnson started keeping bees and harvesting honey to help with their son Zach’s allergies. In just a few years, what began as a home project grew into a buzzing family business. Today, Zach and Zoe offers an array of infused, raw wildflower honey. Savory beetroot goes great on steak; lavender brings calm to sweets and teas; ginger adds a zing to any cold remedy. The farm also sells bee pollen and honeycomb. Believe us when we say this is truly some of the best honey you’ll ever taste. You don’t know what good honey is until you’ve tasted Zach and Zoe’s.
This Insta-famous, artisanal olive oil and vinegar company started as a California dream. Aishwarya Iyer uses olives and fruits from local, family-run farms in the Golden State to create products like Lucid, a lemon olive oil, and Rapture, a balsamic vinegar made with California grapes and blackberries. Dip fresh bread cubes into any combination of the oils and vinegars for an appetizer from the heavens.
There are 1,200 licensed cheesemakers in Wisconsin, and just 60 of them are women. Marieke Penterma is one of those women, and she creates traditional Dutch Gouda cheese. On top of crafting award-winning cheeses, she makes sure every leadership role in her company is filled by a woman.
When Mee McCormick was diagnosed with a life-threatening combination of auto-immune diseases, she sought healing in the kitchen. And so Pinewood Kitchen was created to sell microbiome-friendly soups, jams and sauces to the Nashville area. Recently, she’s started selling her vegan and gluten-free cakes nationwide.
Thirty years ago, Marygrace Sexton took it upon herself to bring her husband Bobby Sexton’s dream to fruition. Bobby ran his family’s fourth-generation Florida citrus packing house, but was too busy to produce freshly squeezed orange juice. So Marygrace, with the knowledge and access to what makes a good Florida orange, began an orange juice business herself. You probably recognize the simple design and clear bottles of Natalie’s Juice, named after Marygrace’s eldest daughter. And if you’ve had a sip of the family-operated company’s OJ, you already know it’s some of the best on the market. If you haven’t? Grab a bottle immediately!
Jenelle Manzi’s energy bar promises a natural boost that doesn’t taste like birdseed (phew). Nor does it come with a sugar crash. Created by the veteran New York City Ballet dancer, who sought healthy performance fuel while battling food allergies, Get Golden is a gluten-free, kosher, and vegan pick-me-up. Nuts and seeds are held together with homemade Turmeric Coconut Butter "Caramel" to make for a salty-sweet, chewy bar.
While these soups may not actually have healing powers, they sure taste like they do. Cousins Valerie Zweig and Taryn Pellicone earned the nickname the Soup Ladies in the D.C. area in 2016 for their comforting soups. Stock up on Prescription Chicken’s Hangover Soup and Vegan Bone Broth, available in D.C., Philadelphia, and in Whole Foods Market, Balducci’s, King’s Food Markets in Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Connecticut and more.
This hip-hop inspired tea brand works to introduce African holistic remedies into the tea business. At Ivy’s Tea Co., Shanae Jones sells organic, locally-sourced teas like Breathe, What The Flu?, Not Coffee and Sister Sister along with Trap China and #TrapTea Spoons, perfect for stirring her organic herb-infused honey varieties.
Pipcorn uses heirloom kernels, which when popped, result in tinier popcorn pieces than what you might be used to. The salty, addictive kernels quickly became one of our favorite snacks and one of Oprah’s favorite things. The family-owned business, run by Jen Martin, Teresa Tsou and Jeff Martin, sources its heirloom kernels from family-run farms that practice sustainable farming methods. Available for order throughout the country, try their kettle corn flavor — trust us!
Who doesn’t love a big bowl of grandma’s chicken noodle soup? That was the inspiration for Dr. Luiza Petre and Irina Peterson, two friends who were on a mission to blend the nutritional benefits of bone broth with the comforts of classic chicken soup. Broth By Design sells "sipping broths" in traditional Grandma’s Chicken Soup Taste and a vegan Vegetable Bouillon to create the perfect steaming bone broth bowl or cup on a cold day.
This online marketplace has a mission: to make it easy for customers to buy from small, local farms. Julia Nirro created MilkRun in Portland, Oregon, to deliver fruits, vegetables and meats from smaller farms directly to customers. Since then, they’ve expanded to Seattle and Austin with plans to grow to Dallas and Houston this year.
Looking for more than your average chocolate and vanilla ice cream sandwich? Coolhaus has got you — with its collection of inventive ice cream, packed between some of your favorite tried-and-true cookies. Salted caramel ice cream between Snickerdoodles? Yes. Creamy s’mores between classic chocolate chip? Check. When Natasha Case and Freya Estreller founded the company, they sought to create vibrantly packaged, high-quality frozen desserts. And that they did. In addition to whipping up ice cream, they seek to represent positive change, by way of strategic partnerships, fundraisers and speaking engagements that promote women leadership and community building.