Styling and Photography by Laurie Mosco
Nancy Maria Donaldson Johnson patented the home ice cream maker in 1843. In 1885, Agnes B. Marshall took the idea of ice cream one step further and made ice cream “craft” before its time, with unique ingredients, shapes – even forecasting a cone and instant ice cream with liquid nitrogen. Ruth Graves was the mastermind behind the iconic dessert, the chocolate chip cookie. For decades pioneering women have shaped the confectionery and culinary industry. Nowadays women owned business have potential to rake in serious dough (pun intended). According to You.gov, the customer base for women-owned business is more affluent than most, with 22% earning more than 100K per year. The survey also found that younger customers are more likely to buy women owned, with 55% being either Millennial or Gen Z. Sounds like it’s time to identify the women owned brands on your shelves, if you haven’t already.
Read on to learn about some of our favorite women-owned brands and how they’re shaping the confectionery and food industries.
When founding Partake Cookies, it was Vivienne Woodward’s goal to ensure even those with food allergies can get in on the snacking fun. Made with wholesome, non-GMO, non-artificial ingredients, Partake Cookies still deliver classic cookie flavors and textures without 8 of the major food allergens including peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, soy, and sesame. They’re vegan and gluten free to boot! Included in the Partake roster are crunchy cookie icons like Chocolate Chip, Triple Chocolate, and Ginger Snap. For those with a softer side, there’s soft baked Cookie Butter. Along with a passion for flavorful allergen-free snacks, Woodward is also passionate about creating opportunities for women and Black entrepreneurs. That’s why the majority of Partake’s funding is coming from female and black investors, according to Forbes Magazine. Another great reason customers will flock to support this up-and-coming brand.
Vosges Chocolate was established to open people’s minds to different cultures through their palates. The company’s founder, Katrina Markoff, has traveled across the US and the world to bring unique and unconventional ingredients to her signature chocolate creations. Take consumers on a journey to New Hampshire with the company’s Mo’s Bacon Milk Chocolate Bar featuring a combination of salty, rich, locally-sourced bacon, and Alderwood smoked salt, for an intriguing smoky salty flavor. One bite of the molten burnt sugar caramel center infused with house-made black Hawaiian sea salt of Vosges’ Black Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate bar, and customers will be transported to the shores of Hawaii. They’ll also love sampling the special brew of Chicago’s famous Aboot Stoot Beer from Forbidden Root Restaurant, Alderwood Smoked Salt and deep, dark chocolate found in the Smoke & Stout Caramel Dark Chocolate Bar. Vosges is also doing its part to support the community. A portion of proceeds from these bars goes to non-profits supporting caregivers who are restarting their careers.
As it says on the company’s website, Milk Bar is a place for those who “crave the unexpected.” The brand began as a New York City East Village Bakery founded by James Beard award-winning pastry chef Christina Tosi and has taken the country by storm. First with bakery locations popping up across the country, and now with the introduction of a line of pre-packaged versions of the bakery’s iconic cookies. Milk Bar shakes up the classics with their Chocolate Chip Cornflake Marshmallow, featuring (as the name says) rich chocolate chips, gooey marshmallows, and cornflakes for a light crunch. For those who love their cookies loaded with the good stuff from the sweet and salty worlds, there’s Compost Cookies, filled with pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats, graham crackers, chocolate chips, and butterscotch. Milk Bar also helps to reinforce that cookies are a legit breakfast food with their Pancake Cookie pouring it on thick with rich maple flavor and a sprinkling of salt for a perfect finish.
SmartSweets, the brainchild of Tara Bosch, is on a mission to “kick sugar, not candy.” Each of the company’s candy shop classics has a signature, low sugar recipe using allulose, a non-artificial sweetener that’s found in fruits like raisins and figs. They’re also full of plant-based fiber and nothing artificial. Customers will a-peach-iate SmartSweets better-for-you version of peach rings. Tickle their tastebuds with tangy flavors of sour melon bites with only 3 grams of sugar per serving or have them be o-fish-ally floored by iconic sweet fish also with only 3 grams of sugar per serving. In addition to boasting that they are women-owned, SmartSweets can brag about a work force that’s 82% women. Another reason why customers will get a “kick” out of SmartSweets.
With the first female Vice President in the White House, there’s a new focus on women-owned and noteworthy women making a difference. Consumers are proudly purchasing products made by women-owned businesses. Be sure you and your staff are aware of the women-owned brands you carry and consider adding more to your selection. Make it easy for customers to identify with signage to indicate which ones are women owned.