CHICAGO — Six emerging food and beverage brands were honored by Foxtrot, dubbed a “modern convenience store” operator. The winners of the second annual Up & Comers Small Makers Awards program will receive a spot on Foxtrot’s in-store shelves and national delivery platform, plus nearly $200,000 in total funding and marketing support.
The initiative to amplify female food entrepreneurs underscores Foxtrot’s commitment to increasing the number of women-led brands on its shelves by 50% in the next year. Less than a third of all small businesses or franchises in the United States are owned by women, and two-thirds of female entrepreneurs say they face significant challenges in securing funding, according to Foxtrot. By providing on-shelf visibility and access to capital, Foxtrot aims to empower female-founded startups. Foxtrot said it carries more than 100 women-owned brands representing more than 450 total stock-keeping units.
The winning brands are Toasty, a jalapeño ranch toasted almond dip; Kola Goodies, a Sri Lankan milk tea brand; Funky Mello, a plant-based marshmallow creme; Balkan Bites, frozen savory phyllo pie; Madly Hadley, vegan coconut bacon; and Mama Teav’s, a hot garlic sauce. Foxtrot said it received more than 1,000 applications.
Founded in 2014, Foxtrot debuted as a digital-only delivery service highlighting local and emerging food brands. The company has since opened more than a dozen locations in Chicago, Dallas and Washington, and plans to expand in existing markets and new cities, including Boston and Austin, Texas, this year. Each store offers rapid delivery and five-minute pickup. The company also introduced Foxtrot Anywhere, a national shipping platform.Judging the awards is a group of female founders and tastemakers, including Marguerite Zabar Mariscal, chief executive officer of Momofuku; Elly Truesdell, founder and managing partner of New Fare; Vanessa Pham, co-founder of Omsom; Kerry Diamond, founder of Cherry Bombe; Christina Tosi, founder of Milk Bar; Samah Dada, cookbook author and influencer; Sana Javeri Kadri, founder of Diaspora Co.; Alexis Nelson, founder of Black Forager; Summer Johnson, co-founder of Zach & Zoe Honey; Kristen Kish, cookbook author and chef at Arlo Grey; Melanie Masarin, founder of Ghia; and Sicily Sierra, chef and entrepreneur.