Change starts by reevaluating what we do in our own lives — and that includes where we shop and the products we buy. When grocery shopping, it's easy to fall into a rhythm of putting the same products in our baskets, so sometimes, we need to take a step back and think about the people behind those brands, who we are directly supporting with our money. Frankly, how many Black-owned companies are making it into our shopping carts?
According to the 15 Percent Pledge, Black people make up 15% of the U.S. population — and the organization is on a mission to have 15% of shelf space in nationwide retailers like Whole Foods and Target adequately represent that. The 15 Percent Pledge partners with Google to make its a site an easy-to-navigate source for Black-owned businesses across different retail categories, from art to food to clothing.
In addition to teaching kids to be anti-racist, donating to organizations that support protesters or change policies surrounding police brutality, healthcare rights and more, you can put your money where your mouth is — by supporting Black business owners locally and nationwide. It's as easy as reaching for Black-owned food brands next time you're at the store or shopping online.
To help support the 15 Percent Pledge and celebrate Black business owners in the food and drink space, we rounded up some standout Black-owned food brands — companies that make coffee, wine, sauces, liquor, prepared foods and pantry staples — many of which are run by women and families. So before heading to the store or adding to an online shopping cart, do some research on the Black-owned businesses that will make delicious upgrades to your meal plan and pantry.
This list was originally published in June 2020 and has since been updated. We will continue to add more Black-owned food and drink businesses.
As the nonalcoholic drink category continues to grow, the Afro-Latina team behind Agua Bonita is pioneering a line of ready-to-drink aguas frescas to celebrate Mexico's culinary heritage. The mom-owned brand infuses vibrant flavors (think Mango Habanero, Pineapple Cucumber and Watermelon Chile) into these light and refreshing drinks. Founders Kayla Castañeda and Erin PonTell work with growers to salvage leftover produce (30% of which typically goes straight to landfills), juice it, freeze it in its concentrated form and then use it to naturally sweeten each bottle without adding extra sugar. They also donate 1% of every purchase to nonprofits like Farmworker Justice and Justice for Migrant Women.
Alexandra Schrecengost launched her specialty food business on a mission to create more diversity among wine and olive oil producers. Altrosero, the namesake of which represents Schrecengost, her husband and their two sons (Altrosero = Alex, Troy, Sean and Rome), recently launched its first products: a line of three flavored olive oils from the Abruzzo region in Italy and a bold red zinfandel.
From "In Bibi's Kitchen" author Hawa Hassan, Basbaas Foods crafts African-inspired sauces (Coconut Cilantro Chutney and Tamarind Date Sauce) that began with the flavors of Hassan's home country of Somalia. An immigrant and refugee who came to the U.S. without her family at age 7, Hassan cherished memories of cooking with her mother during their 15-year separation. The beautiful, ready-made sauces reflect that time — cultivating a sense of home for anyone who tastes them.
Anyone who enjoys the nutritious value of ancient grains like farro or sorghum should try teff — and source it from Berhan Grains. This gluten-free grain is harvested and imported from Ethiopia and stone-ground into a flour ideal for baking bread, tacos, pasta, desserts, cookies and more. The company is family-owned, founded by Ermeyes and Betlehim Ghebrreselassie. Berhan's teff is available online for delivery in the U.S. and Canada.
Calling itself "the streetware of spices," this newly launched company from Jeremy Nagin is an ode to Creole culture. Its current three flavors are inspired by traditional Creole seasoning (the "holy trinity" of onions, celery and bell peppers), a smoky Creole Texan blend, and a Mexican Creole blend with chipotle and cilantro. Beaucoup Flavor aims to promote vibrant, healthy eating without all the sodium.
This coffee startup is founded by childhood friends Rod Johnson and Pernell Cezar. Their focus is to inspire customers to sip and savor their coffee blends with the same attention one would wine or whiskey. With roots in Gary, Indiana, the duo are also on a mission to give back to children in their local community (and beyond!), which has struggled with high poverty rates. The certified B corporation, now available at 5,600 nationwide retailer locations like Target and Amazon, donates 5% of proceeds to programs supporting youth in need, locally and nationwide.
If you crave Caribbean flavors, from seasonings and cooking staples, subscribe to a Callaloo Box. After working in corporate jobs for 14 years in New York City, sisters Malika and Jamila Augustine, originally from the twin Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, fulfilled their dream of owning their own food company. Founded in 2017, Callaloo offers online subscription-based or a-la-carte hot sauces, condiments, seasonings, snacks, drinks and more.
Every package of coffee company pays artistic homage to colorful Caribbean culture. From whole and ground beans to a line of beauty products made with real coffee, CariBBrew works directly with small-scale growers in Haiti to source its Arabica beans.
Founded in 1992 by William "Bill" Williams in Columbus, Ohio, Glory foods sells tasty Southern side dishes, including fresh bagged greens, frozen foods, seasoned, canned beans, yams and more. Glory products are in grocery stores around the country. When Williams died in 2001, his son, Bill Williams Jr. moved from Boston to help carry on the family business.
This Brooklyn-based brand was founded by Trinity Mouzon Wofford and fiancé Issey Kobori in 2017 to make health-boosting foods and supplements more accessible. Their food and beauty products, including kits to make turmeric lattes, can be found on their online shop.
Inspired by his native Jamaican roots, Hillside Harvest’s founder Kamaal Jarrett incorporates flavors of the Caribbean into lively hot sauces made from simple ingredients. Since he was a young boy growing up in Massachusetts, Jarrett was in love with cooking and fusing the flavors from the two places he considered home. His sauces are available at nearly 200 locations around the Northeast and at online grocer FreshDirect.
Available at Walmart and on Amazon, Iya Foods sells shelf-stable, whole-food powders to make healthy eating easier. Founded by CEO Toyin Kolawole, Iya Foods makes products inspired by African health foods, including items like beet powder — a great add to a refreshing smoothie — and gluten-free baking substitutes like cauliflower cassava and cassava pancake mix, which are also paleo-friendly and kosher-certified.
Walter Nash Sr., known lovingly by the name "Lefty," started Lefty's in a small food trailer. Now a restaurant and spice company sold at retailers nationwide, this Maryland-based family business is well practiced at bottling the comforting flavors of barbecue. From classic barbecue sauces perfect for smothering on ribs or chicken to Lefty's Fish N' Chicken Fry Mix, this line of sauces and spices will become a kitchen staple.
The McBride Sisters is the largest Black-owned wine company in the U.S. (It's also women- and family-owned!) Co-founders and sisters Robin and Andréa McBride's collections of red, white and rose wines can be found at Available at Kroger, Target, Ralphs, Walmart, Instacart and more nationwide chains. The McBrides also launched a canned wine called "She Can" with a development fund that awards scholarships to "emerging women leaders," with a particular focus on women of color. Their mission is to "close the gender and race gap in leadership positions in wine & spirits, hospitality, and finance industries."
Chef Selassie Atadika's all-female chocolatier team in Ghana handcrafts chocolates that can be delivered to your home from their online shop. Every chocolate she designs and produces, from chocolate truffles to chocolate tasting kits to hot drinking chocolate, honors the culinary heritage of Africa. Each truffle is named after the African women who inspired Atadika, whom she calls the "culinary custodians" of the continent. Her team infuses the chocolate recipes with other African fruits, spices, coffee and teas, and decorates each one to embody the beauty of Africa.
Founded by chef Ian Martin and Aaron Bullock, Misha's nondairy cheese first launched at LA's Original Farmers Market in 2018. Its variety of cheese alternatives, from creamy ricotta to jalapeño, oregano and thyme to black truffle, makes it a standout nut-based substitute for dairy milks. Their mission is to make food that's kinder to animals and to the environment.
Partake in supporting Black-owned, vegan restaurants and food brands with a bag of tasty vegan, gluten-free cookies. Created by Denise Woodard for her daughter who has food allergies, these simple cookies have fun flavors like carrot cake, ginger snap, birthday cake and classic chocolate chip. Their products are sold in Targets nationwide.
Love popcorn? How about your daily vitamins? Thanks to entrepreneur and registered nurse Courtney Adeleye and her physician husband, there's a way to enjoy both. The duo developed a recipe that infused the snack time favorite with essential vitamins and minerals. Each bag, whether you go with white cheddar, original or salty-sweet kettle corn, contains protein, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B12 and vitamin D, zinc and folic acid.
This hibiscus liqueur brand was founded by Jackie Summers after he was diagnosed with a likely fatal spinal tumor. He left his 25-year corporate career to bottle up a drink that reflected the deep history of his family and their native Barbados. After more than 600 tries, Summers finally distilled the first and only shelf-stable recipe for sorrel liqueur, a liqueur derived from hibiscus — which was brought to the Caribbean from West Africa over 500 years ago — and flavored with clove, cinnamon and ginger. Summers beat the odds and survived his diagnosis, and continues to share his cultural history through Sorel, one sip at a time.
The mother-daughter team behind Southern Culture was featured on CNBC's "The Profit" for their inventive approach to Southern food — making it simpler. Founder Erica Barrett and her mother teamed up with "The Profit" host Marcus Lemonis to sell shelf-stable breakfast products to make your life easier, including banana pudding pancake mix, jarred bacon rubs and canisters of stone-ground grits. All products are available online for home delivery.
You don't have to live in New York City to enjoy Genelle Drayton's artisanal macarons and confections. While Drayton brings her Cherry Jubilee CocoMallow Sandwiches and Salted Caramel Coconut Macarons to pop-up locations, luxury retailers and markets around the city, she also sells them on her online shop. Her confections are the perfect gift for a special someone with a sweet tooth — even if that someone is yourself. Drayton named her company after her Bahamian-born grandparents, Henry and Daisy Dames, and sources flavor inspiration from the coconut sweets she enjoyed as a child.
Dedicated to reimagining childhood treats for health-focused adults, Keisha Smith-Jeremie this elevated applesauce brand. With exciting flavors like hibiscus, lavender pear and ginger, all the varieties are certified organic, gluten-free, GMO-free, low-calorie and packaged for adult snacking habits and taste buds. It's available at Walmart and on Amazon.
Yolélé was founded in 2017 by chef Pierre Thiam to create economic opportunity for smallholder farming communities throughout West Africa. Its range of healthful products are made with a nutty, fluffy ancient grain called fonio that grows easily in Africa's nutrient-deficient soils affected by drought and climate change. Buying more of this nourishing grain (sold at Whole Foods, the Fresh Market and Target nationwide) directly helps alleviate extreme poverty throughout these farming communities. From its gluten-free fonio flour to snack-able fonio chips to flavorful fonio pilafs, Yolélé has something tasty for everyone.
Featured in "Oprah's Favorite Things," this family-owned raw honey business began when its founders sought a natural remedy for their youngest son's seasonal allergies, which worsened when they moved to a rural town in New Jersey. What began with a beehive and some honey for their home evolved into a mission to change how people perceive honey and the powerful little bees that make it. The Johnsons specialty raw honey is now available online and at a brick-and-mortar shop in the New York City's Chelsea Market.