Bad Girl, Good Business

The 100 Years Club Installment #77: Fancy Feasting After Fifty

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Welcome to Week 2 and the kick-off of Week 3 of Hot Woman Summer 2024.

The overarching themes were family (several days at the beach) and food (the Fancy Food Show, which I detail below).

In recent years, I’ve focused my attendance at food shows exclusively on healthy options and the people who create/manufacture them.

Although I’m familiar with The Blue Zones and its nutritional principles, I also believe that a little fun in one’s diet won’t necessarily age or kill you. After all, I have two grandparents and a mother who died in their late 90s after consuming large amounts of garbage (not literally). Of course, I could conjecture that they might have been centenarians if they were more judicious, but who really knows?

Now, back to the Fancy Food Show! Here are my “best of show” picks.

  • Hey, it’s summer, and who wants to go without some kind of ice cream-like frozen dessert?  Vêsucré was so yummy that I tried two flavors over two days. It’s a woman-owned company, and the tasty treat is vegan and free of soy, gluten, and refined sugar.
  • Other sweet treats that made my list are:
    • Sprint and Mulberry offers An awesome line of date-sweetened chocolate.
    • When you crave Sour Patch Kids but don’t want the sugar, check out Better Sour.
    • A healthier alternative to cheesecake is Culiraw.
    • Let’s not forget the fruit! Oishii was sampling these amazing beauties. Omakase berries
      are like nothing I’ve ever eaten. They are so sweet (and they are grown in a high-tech vertical “farm.”)
  • Crunchy options of note are:
    • I’ve written about Like Air before, but this alternative to popcorn never disappoints. And the founder is always so warm and wonderful. (More about that later.)
    • Root Foods are like chips but way healthier. These crunchy veggies can be eaten from the bag or sprinkled on salads or other concoctions. The Six Mix is terrific.
    • S’Noods: Snack noodles? Yes, please. And they are even gluten-free.
    • You might enjoy CauliPuffs even if you don’t adore cauliflower. They come in several flavors, but I’m a purist, so I stick with the salt and pepper.
    • Dixie Grace is a real-life founder, and her boiled peanuts and peanut hummus will make you nuts (in a good way).
    • Jerky is still alive and well. Two sugar-free varieties from Field Trip will now become staples in my bag for those times I need a protein fix (or those rare times I wander through the woods or mountains).
  • But women can’t live on snacks and sweets alone!
    • I would be happy to start any day with Spoonful. The glass jars are earth-friendly and reusable, the founder is passionate about his brand, and the chocolate peanut butter cup and cinnamon apple pie varieties made the morning meal worth getting up early for!
    • The Hampton Grocer offers a wide range of gluten-free granolas.
    • Jane Foodie (aka Jane Carroll) survived a heart attack and turned near-tragedy into entrepreneurship with an amazing product line.
    • Another woman founder, Kimberlie Le, invented a line of plant-based cold cuts called Prime Roots, which are ideal for sandwiches (on gluten-free egg white wraps, of course!)
    • And you MUST put a pickle on that sandwich! One from Horman’s Original, of course. (The company was my client many years ago, and their brand is STILL my favorite!)
    • When the weather cools down in Arizona, I’ll be stirring up some soups from I Eat My Greens.
    • Having once lived in that corner of New Jersey, I have a soft spot for the marinara from Hoboken Farms. Plus, it tasted fresh and amazing.
    • Winner of last year’s pitch slam, Jasberry is still going strong with its superfood rice.
    • Almond oil from Sunnygem is a great alternative to less-healthy options and can be used in sautéing, brushing, dressing, and baking.
    • Although I generally avoid dairy, I’m drawn to The Big Moo every year. (A girl has to splurge sometimes!)
  • Drink up!
    • Moment’s tagline is “Drink your meditation,” I felt a little calmer after a swig of their fruity sample.
    • I love wine, but not its aftereffects. Seraphim, which calls itself a “social beverage,” is beautifully packaged, non-alcoholic, and (most importantly) truly delicious and refreshing.
    • So fresh and juicy! That’s how I’d describe these Squeezed variations from Trinity Fruit.
  • What’s miscellaneous but memorable?
    • EllyPop was founded by naturopaths (and moms) who were looking for a healthy way to help sick kids stay hydrated.
    • A mother-daughter duo created the quirkily-named Tongue & Cheek, which act as breath fresheners, palate cleansers, and a simple way to cool off your mouth when you eat hot food or drink a scalding beverage.
    • If you’re looking for a more traditional breath freshener, check out PaperMints.
    • Although their products don’t meet my “healthy food criteria,” Greyston Bakery has been going strong since 1982, providing employment opportunities and new skills to thousands of people. Their sell sheet urges, “Eat Brownies. Change Lives.”
    • I also saw the RoboSouschef in action and met several companies that help start-ups to market and scale. Having the right people (and machines) on your team is critical today. Which brings me to my last point…

Even the best food concept can leave a bitter taste in your mouth if the people who are serving it are dismissive, don’t know their ingredients, or attempt to pass their food off as “healthy” even when it’s loaded with crap.

But I met so many people this year who are truly passionate about what they do. Many remembered me from past years and were eager to talk to me about what’s new this season and how their businesses are doing.

The food world can be a tough and competitive place, but those founders who love to cook up new ideas, are resilient in the face of challenges, and give people like me healthy alternatives (which will, I hope, fuel longevity) are among my favorite founders!



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