Time for a slice of humble pie: Your #BlackLivesMatter posts on social media aren't enough if you don't start backing your words with movement. Allyship is all about taking action — in your community, in your office and even in your kitchen.
In the food world, many Black-owned food brands and businesses aren't given the same recognition as their white-owned-and-operated counterparts.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 124,004 Black-owned businesses in 2017, yet many of these companies aren't highlighted and celebrated nearly enough in media. That changes now.
More than 40 percent of Black-owned businesses have shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the 15 Percent Pledge, which urges retail giants like Whole Foods, Target and Shopbop to commit 15 percent of their shelf space to Black-owned brands.
Regularly buying the healthy and delicious pantry and fridge staples below — from Partake Food's irresistible gluten-free, vegan and allergy-friendly cookies to Golde's superfood lattes — is a great way to show your support for Black-owned businesses. Because they more than matter — they're cherished and needed.
1. Partake Foods
Per 3-cookie serving of Chocolate Chip: 150 calories, 8 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat), 180 milligrams sodium, 19 grams carbohydrates (3 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar, 7 grams added sugars), 1 gram protein
Denise Woodard created Partake Foods for her daughter who has food allergies. Frustrated with the lack of healthy, allergen-free snacks, Woodard started her own line of gluten-free and vegan cookies, which are also without the top eight food allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, wheat, milk, soy, fish and shellfish. From Carrot Cake to Ginger Snap and Double Chocolate, these sweet confections use minimal ingredients and are lower in sugar.
"We started in August 2017, self-distributing and self-funded, and working to get into 50 natural food stores in New York City by the end of 2017," Woodard tells LIVESTRONG.com. After accomplishing that goal, Woodard was able to learn more about what her customers liked and didn't like about the product.
"As we gained feedback, we made changes to our product and packaging. In June 2019, Partake secured a $1 million funding round led by Jay-Z's Marcy Venture Partners and used those funds to start to scale the business. I'm proud to share that you can now find Partake in Target nationwide, Sprouts, The Fresh Market and several Whole Foods Market stores," she says.
As the Black Lives Matter movement grows and more attention and recognition is given to Black-owned businesses, Woodard hopes that investors, retailers and other vendors will follow suit and support women of color (WOC) entrepreneurs — not just in this moment, but going forward.
"And I hope that the WOC entrepreneurs, like myself, who are already in business and thriving will mentor and lift up new WOC entrepreneurs."
Buy it: Target.com; Price: $6.09
2. Breukelen Rub Spice Co.
Foodies will love the vibrant, bold flavors in Breukelen Rub Spice Co.'s delicious rubs and seasonings.
"We established Breukelen Spice Co. in the spring of 2017," co-founder Isalia Lebron tells LIVESTRONG.com. "We are a family business, so our inspiration is our family. We are building something for our child that we can leave behind. We hope that this inspires them to build something for themselves one day or expand what we started," she says.
In many ways, Breukelen's spices are a celebration of Brooklyn's many cultures and dishes, which is integral to their creative cooking process.
"Mom-and-pop shops have existed in every neighborhood ... however, the value of the POC innovator is being pushed to the forefront. For so long, we had to fight the stigma that our products and services were of lesser quality, all the while they were undervalued."
"We try to find a flavor that is synonymous with that neighborhood," Lebron says. For example, their Flatbush blend, named after a neighborhood in Brooklyn, is a dry jerk blend.
Their Abuela's Adobo spice blend is a flavor profile traditionally used in Latin-Caribbean and Filipino cuisine. To kick up the heat, try their Brownsville spice, which is a "very hot" blend that pairs well in a variety of Caribbean, Indian and American barbecue dishes.
"The next step is recipe tasting, and in this process, we pick the dry spices and herbs that we want to incorporate into the blend," she says. From there, they create a variety of versions of the blend and have tastings to establish the perfect balance of flavors.
Lebron's husband JD is a restaurateur and chef with more than 19 years of experience and curates Breukelen's flavors. "As a chef, we also love to feed people, educate them on food and broaden their palates," he says.
In addition to selling spice blends and rubs, Breukelen offers cooking classes and dinner parties. From pasta- and empanada-making to searing fish and making veggie burgers, these events are an opportunity for people to try their spices and learn how to incorporate them into dishes.
"What we are doing is showing how our spices can be used on different levels. We try to take people on a culinary journey that they'll never forget. We even use our spices in desserts. I think these dinner parties let people see the full potential of our blends," JD says.
With this greater movement to amplify Black voices, Lebron hopes that it helps elevate more Black and minority businesses and calls for more economic equity.
"Mom-and-pop shops have existed in every neighborhood and digital marketing has broadened varied industry markets, allowing for growth," Lebron explains. "However, the value of the POC innovator is being pushed to the forefront. For so long, we had to fight the stigma that our products and services were of lesser quality, all the while they were undervalued," she says.
Buy it: BreukelenRub.com; Price: $15-$20
Per 2-teaspoon serving of Matcha Turmeric latte blend: 20 calories, 1.5 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated fat), 0 milligrams sodium, 2 grams carbohydrates (0 grams sugar), 0 grams protein
Do you start your mornings with a matcha latte? Love the taste of turmeric? Golde's exquisite superfood blends highlight the power of these health-boosting ingredients and make it super easy to prepare a delicious drink in seconds.
Founder Trinity Mouzon Wofford first learned about the healing properties of turmeric from her mother, who lives with an autoimmune disorder. That's why the yellow spice is the foundation of many of Golde's products.
Start your day with the Matcha Turmeric latte blend, which includes coconut milk powder and is flavored with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and black pepper. If you're craving something chocolate, consider the Cacao Turmeric latte blend.
With no added sugars or sweeteners, these low-carb powders are a great match for all types of diets, including vegan, plant-based and keto.
Buy it: Golde.co; Price: $29
4. Trade Street Jam Co.
Per 1-tablespoon serving of Strawberry Chipotle & Fig jam: 15 calories, 0 grams fat (0 grams saturated fat), 5 milligrams sodium, 4 grams carbohydrates (1 gram fiber, 3 grams sugar, 2 grams added sugar), 0 grams protein
Founder and chef Ashley Rouse started her business making small batches of jam in her tiny apartment in North Carolina on Trade Street — the namesake of the brand.
From Strawberry Chipotle & Fig to Smoked Yellow Peach, to Blueberry Lemon Basil, Trade Street Jam Co.'s low-sugar and vegan jams spread perfectly on toast and pizza (hello, fig jam pizza), can be used in meat marinades and salad dressings and even stirred into cocktails.
Free of pectin, preservatives and stabilizers, these jams are as good as nature intended them to be. Each jar of jam is either slow-cooked to create a thicker spread or quick-cooked, which helps retain the color and flavor of the fruit.
Buy it: TradeStJamCo.com; Price: $13
Per 1-scoop serving of chocolate protein powder: 120 calories, 3 grams fat (0.5 grams saturated fat), 250 milligrams sodium, 4 grams carbohydrates (3 grams fiber, 0 grams sugar), 20 grams protein
After swinging kettlebells and doing box jumps, nothing feels more rewarding than drinking a muscle-nourishing protein shake or smoothie.
Plantmade's vegan protein powders feature pea protein isolate, organic hemp, sacha inchi protein, milled chia seed and spirulina. Great for vegetarians and vegans — as well as those sensitive to whey — these vanilla and chocolate plant-based powders provide 20 grams of protein in one serving.
Plus, they have no added sugars and are only slightly sweetened with stevia leaf extract. Use them to prepare protein balls, homemade granola bars and more.
Buy it: Plantmadeco.com; Price: $25
6. A Dozen Cousins
Per 1/2-cup serving of Cuban Black Beans: 110 calories, 2 grams fat (0.5 grams saturated fat), 400 milligrams sodium, 18 grams carbohydrates (4 grams fiber, 1 gram sugar, 0 grams added sugar), 6 grams protein
Inspired by Black and Latin flavors, A Dozen Cousins creates slow-cooked beans that you can easily heat and serve. Made with a variety of delicious spice blends and other nutritious ingredients, these beans will convert any staunch meat-eater into a veggie lover.
Enjoy it as a side dish with chicken or fish, in tacos and burritos, over gooey nachos or in hearty salads. The brand's Cuban Black Beans, for instance, are cooked with onion, green peppers, avocado oil, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, sea salt, garlic, cumin, oregano and cayenne pepper.
So all you need to complete taco night is some shredded chicken, pico de gallo and some guac. Our tummies are already talking!
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $24.99 per pack of 6
7. Sanaia Applesauce
Per serving of Guava applesauce: 70 calories, 0 grams fat (0 grams saturated fat), 70 milligrams sodium, 18 grams carbohydrates (3 grams fiber, 14 grams sugar, 3 grams added sugar), 0 grams protein
If you're looking to level up your quarantine baking, look no further than Sanaia applesauce.
Sanaia is unlike any other applesauce. Certified USDA organic, non-GMO and gluten-free, it comes in tropical flavors, such as Guava, Hibiscus, Tamarind and Ginger, which are inspired by founder Keisha Smith-Jeremie's upbringing in the Bahamas.
The bonus is that they contain minimal amounts of added sugar, so the fruit is front and center. Bringing unique flavor and depth, these applesauces are sure to transform your baked goods and snack time into sweet moments you can feel less guilty about.
Buy it: Walmart.com; Price: $1.50
8. Pipcorn Heirloom Snacks
Per 2.5-cup serving of Truffle popcorn: 120 calories, 6 grams fat (0.5 grams saturated fat), 120 milligrams sodium, 19 grams carbohydrates (5 grams fiber, 1 grams sugar, 0 grams added sugars), 3 grams protein
It's basically the smaller sibling of popcorn. But unlike regular popcorn, Pipcorn has a more delicate flavor, thanks to heirloom corn, and comes out in smaller pieces (Pipcorn is half the size of popcorn).
With flavors like Vegan Caramel, Truffle, Sea Salt and Kettle, once you pop a bag open, it will be hard to put it down. Their truffle popcorn uses 100-percent truffle — and Oprah calls it one of her favorite snacks.).
Since Pipcorn launched, they've extended their line of popcorn to include crackers, corn dippers and cheese balls. Grab your snack bowl — stat.
Buy it: Walmart.com; Price: $5.53
9. McBride Sisters Wine Collection
Robin and Andrea McBride were raised on opposite parts of the world — in Monterey, California and Marlborough, New Zealand — but their love and passion for wine is what ultimately brought them together.
The McBride sisters grew up not knowing each other existed until they met later in life. Fast forward to 2010, Robin and Andrea launched the McBride Sisters Wine Company in California, becoming the first African American sisters to own a wine company.
Their wine collection is reflective of their upbringing, with their Chardonnay and Red wines from Central Coast, California, and their Sauvignon Blanc and Brut Rose from Malborough, New Zealand.
Their Black Girl Magic California Riesling features classic flavors, including honey, apricot and white flowers, but it also has tangy and citrus notes, revealing a sweet and sour finish.
Buy it: McBrideSisters.com; Price: $19.99
10. Fit Men Cook Spices
Per 1/4-teaspoon serving of Sea Blend: 1 calorie, 0 grams fat (0 grams saturated fat), 119 milligrams sodium, 0 grams carbohydrates (0 grams sugar), 0 grams protein
Kevin Curry, the genius behind Fit Men Cook's cookbook and meal planning recipes, has gained millions of fans and followers over the years with his down-to-earth approach to healthy food.
He elevates basic meals like grilled chicken and sweet potatoes into more palate-expanding, exciting eats. Now, Curry shows you how to take even more delicious shortcuts in the kitchen with his line of spices and seasonings.
The Sea Blend, for example, combines Himalayan pink sea salt with garlic, onion, celery seed and lemon peel. We imagine it will cook well with chicken, fish and even roasted potatoes.
To heat things up, the Southern Creole Spice is a soulful blend of paprika, garlic, onion, spices and salt — great for cauliflower "buffalo" wings, homemade dips and turkey burgers.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $39.99 per set of 6
11. Yummy Spoonfuls
Per 2-bites serving of Chicken Sweet Potato Bites: 90 calories, 2.5 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat), 130 milligrams sodium, 6 grams carbohydrates (1 gram fiber, 1 gram sugar, 0 grams added sugar), 10 grams protein
Agatha Achindu grew up in Cameroon eating organic, local produce from her family's garden and local farms. So when she gave birth to her son, she wanted to nourish him with the same high-quality veggies and fruits.
That's when she founded Yummy Spoonfuls, a line of organic, kid-friendly meals. Kid favorites, like macaroni and cheese, pancakes and chicken bites, contain whole-food ingredients, like ground chicken, sweet potatoes, quinoa, cauliflower and real cheddar.
Free of food preservatives, added sugars and fillers, your child will get the dishes they love with more nutrition.
Buy it: Walmart.com; Price: $2.29-$9.49
12. Egunsi Foods
Per 1-cup serving of Gbegiri soup: 290 calories, 16 grams fat (4.5 grams saturated fat), 470 milligrams sodium, 38 grams carbohydrates (15 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar), 13 grams protein
Nigerian-born founder Yemisi Awosan brings the comforting tastes of West Africa stateside with Egunsi Foods, a line of pre-made soups and sauces.
Her Obe Ata soup, a West African tomato soup, is a melting pot of tomato, red pepper, onions, paprika, lemon juice and habanero pepper — ideal for a cold night in or chilled on a hot summer day. The Gbegiri Soup packs protein-rich brown-eyed peas and an impressive 15 grams of fiber per serving.
And then, there's her Groundnut Soup, an African peanut soup, which is a staple in Sierra Leonean and Ghanaian cuisine. A vegetable soup that's brimming with tomato, carrot, mushroom, corn and onion, you'll never guess that its secret ingredient is peanut butter, which lends a creamy texture and complex flavor.
Buy it: EgunsiFoods.com; Price: $80 per 4 jars
13. Blk & Bold
If you're a tea and coffee connoisseur, you'll love BLK & Bold's selection of freshly ground steeped coffee packs and high-quality teas.
From their La Guadalupe and Honduras light roast to their Rise & Grind medium roast, you'll appreciate their unique character and range of full-bodied richness that each lends. Their teas also offer a cascade of bold flavors, including Moroccan Mint, Chai Green Tea, Turmeric Spice and Hibiscus Citrus.
You can feel especially good about buying BLK & Bold's coffees and teas because they donate five percent of their profits to youth programming and eradicating youth homelessness.
Founded by childhood friends Pernell Cezar and Rod Johnson, BLK & Bold is the first Black-owned, nationally distributed coffee brand. You can find their products on Amazon, Target and Whole Foods.
Buy it: Target.com; Price: $15.89
14. Empower Cocktails
Whether you're hosting a girls' night in the near future or just looking to sip on something refreshing, Tiffany Hall's Empower Cocktails mix will instantly lighten the mood.
Her signature Empower Cosmopolitan Martini combines sweet potato vodka with white cranberry, triple sec and lime. Its crisp and subtle sweetness make it a great canvas for a variety of cocktails.
Unlike other vodkas, which are usually made with wheat or rye, Empower Cocktails' line is made with sweet potato — ideal for those avoiding gluten.
Buy it: InternationalWineShop.com; Price: $21.99