SAN FRANCISCO — Fourteen emerging brands were recognized during the second annual Shelfies Awards ceremony, held Sept. 14 and hosted by Startup CPG, an organization dedicated to supporting early-stage entrepreneurs.
More than 300 brands submitted over 600 food and beverage products. Forty-one finalists were selected across 13 categories. Products were judged on taste, innovation, mission and branding.
Founded in 2019, Startup CPG provides free resources, services and networking opportunities, connecting founders and industry partners at live and virtual events and on digital platforms.
“Since our inception, we have been keenly attentive to the unique challenges and opportunities that small emerging CPG brands face,” said Jenna Movsowitz, head of marketing and editor of “The Spotlight” at Startup CPG. “Among these challenges is the cost and labor barrier to nominating products for big-name awards. Yet the recognition of a best-in-class award could be the catalyst to turn an emerging product into a moonshot.”
The winners of the 2022 Shelfies Awards are:
Best international flavors: Niramaya Foods offers a collection of Indian-inspired, plant-based dips, including masala tomato sabji, super greens saag and street pav bhaji. The versatile dips may be paired with chips as a snack or served with rice and vegetables to create a balanced dinner, according to the company.
Best snack: Fun-Gal Snacks is the maker of Popadelics, a brand of crunchy mushroom crisps with culinary-driven flavors, such as rosemary and salt and truffle Parmesan. A portion of sales supports health and wellness causes.
Best breakfast food: For Good Granola is a chef-created, no-oat granola based on buckwheat groats, which is rich in vitamins, minerals and protein, plus nuts, seeds, dried fruits and puffed amaranth and sorghum. The startup supports organizations empowering children and adults with disabilities.
Best kids’ product: Tiny Sprouts Foods is a children’s nutrition company committed to producing convenient, functional products with organic ingredients and no added sugar, preservatives or artificial flavors. The brand’s core product line features seeds such as chia, flax and hemp, plus probiotics and vitamin D, and may be sprinkled, mixed or baked into a variety of foods.
Best baked good: Nowhere Bakery bakes premium cookies, brownies and bars formulated with almond flour, almond butter, organic coconut sugar, organic maple syrup and organic coconut oil. All products are plant-based and free from gluten and soy.
Best alcohol beverage: G’s Hard Ginger Beer markets a range of organic, low-alcohol ginger beers that are fermented dry and contain no added sugars, sweeteners or artificial ingredients. The canned cocktails are available in flavors including ginger, lemon and orange; ginger, mint and lime; and ginger, passionfruit, orange and sea salt.
Best condiment: AWSM Sauce is pioneering powdered mixes for classic condiments including ketchup, barbecue sauce and hot sauce as a sustainable alternative to conventional bottled options. The brand’s patent-pending ”powder-to-pour” technology helps reduce single-use plastic packaging waste.
Best supplement: Two brands tied in the supplement category. Gwella recently launched its Mojo Microdose line of gummies made with a proprietary blend of functional mushrooms, herbs and roots to support energy, focus, clarity and mood. Hone offers a coffee alternative made with matcha and mushrooms to deliver benefits including immunity, energy and focus.
Best sustainability-focused product: Hidden Gems has developed a proprietary process to create Reveal Avocado Seed Brew, a ready-to-drink beverage with three times more antioxidants than green tea, plus prebiotics for gut health. Flavors include grapefruit lavender, mango ginger and rose mint.
Best plant-based product: Funky Mello’s plant-based marshmallow cremes are formulated with aquafaba, the starchy brine of cooked or canned chickpeas, plus sugar, tapioca syrup, vanilla flavoring and sea salt. The brand is carving out a new category in refrigerated desserts with a versatile fluff that spreads, swirls, melts and more.
Best frozen product: Balkan Bites is a maker of frozen appetizers featuring Southeast European comfort foods, such as burek, a savory hand pie with a flaky, phyllo crust.
Best beverage innovation: Wildwonder is a beverage brand focused on digestive health. Its low-sugar, sparkling tonics combine prebiotics and probiotics, with flavors ranging from guava rose to peach ginger to strawberry passion.
Best branding: Uproot Teas is a direct-trade, premium tea startup, partnering with family farms in Hawaii, Vermont and Kyoto, Japan, to source sustainably grown whole leaf tea.
Carl Starkey, co-founder of AWSM Sauce, said the award represents a “major validating step” for the brand.
“To start a brand a year ago as two dads with a vision and now be a Shelfie Award winner is wild,” he said.Saphira Rasti, founder and head baker of Nowhere Bakery, added, “It is an honor to be acknowledged for the work we are doing. We have bragging rights.”