As climate change impacts more of us each year in our everyday lives – whether in the form of winter storms, hurricanes, forest fires, floods, or other natural disasters – consumers increasingly are demanding eco-conscious food products. Recent research reveals that 60% of consumers choose products from companies with a social and/or environmental mission. Many food brands are finding ways to reduce their waste, carbon footprint, and packaging without compromising the quality of their products.
With these ten healthy prepared foods, you can easily build the ultimate sustainable charcuterie board – one that is entirely vegan, all-natural, and composed of earth-friendly brands. Just add fresh fruit and veggies, and you’re good to go!
1. Moonshot Climate-Friendly Crackers
Moonshot makes the first explicitly climate-friendly crackers that are better for you and the planet. The crackers are made from ingredients sourced from farmers who are using regenerative agricultural practices, which help improve the health of the soil and restore the natural carbon cycle. These farmers are not only powerful agents for tackling climate change, but also their farming practices have ecosystem co-benefits like improving biodiversity and making soil more resilient. Healthier soil means more nutrient-dense food that has more flavor. Moonshot crackers are also plant-based, USDA certified organic, and carbon neutral.
CEO and Founder Julia Collins says that while she always was eco-conscious, it was after the birth of her son that she “went from being concerned about climate change to obsessed.” Having spent the majority of her career in the food industry, she had learned that 25 to 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from our food system. Her research led her to discover regenerative agriculture and its potential to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Thus Moonshot was born.
To aspiring changemakers, Collins says, “This is the most perfect time for creating purpose-driven companies. The world is ready for you.”
2. BRIZO Everything Dressing
BRIZO Everything Dressings, which come in mild and spicy, are all-natural, clean salad and veggie dressings. The products contain five simple ingredients and do not require refrigeration, using only lemon juice as a preservative.
CEO and Founder Vivian Jasper has been making BRIZO for over 30 years. But she only formed her company in 2017, when she felt the time was right. Consumers now read labels and demand clean, sustainable food products. Also, the shelf-life of at least 18 months makes it an easy sell. “We bypassed farmers’ markets and went right to the shelves,” Jasper says. “BRIZO has done really well as a keto-friendly, gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan product that is flavorful and can be used in a variety of ways.”
“Believe in your product, test it, and listen to the consumer,” Jasper says to aspiring entrepreneurs. “BRIZO has been a family affair, and together we have worked hard to get it out to the masses to provide consumers with a product that makes sense for their entire family.”
3. Supernola Superfood Clusters
Supernola produces snack food clusters in single-serve packets, which are made from exclusively plant-based, whole food ingredients. Parent company Evolve Brands operates a facility powered by 100% renewable energy and is committed to clean manufacturing through composting, recycling, and upcycling to reduce waste. The facility utilizes dehydration technology to create nutrient-dense, flavorful products.
CEO and Founder Cindy Poiesz worked in finance for oil, gas, and power companies before starting Supernola. Once she began exploring the food industry, she found the amount of food wasted throughout the manufacturing process shocking. She built Supernola with the intention of becoming an industry leader in “mindful manufacturing.”
To aspiring changemakers, Poiesz says, “Commit to doing things the right way. By that I mean, look at the bigger picture of how your business impacts the community and the world at large. It takes more time, costs more money, and requires much more effort than taking the easy road, but it is worth the extra effort.”
4. KEHO Ketogenic Snack Bites
KEHO’s savory, plant-powered and whole-food ketogenic snack bites are inspired by global cuisines and come in four different flavors: Curry in a Hurry, Tex-Mex Moment, Pizza To Go, and Thai Me Over. The veggies are freeze-dried, which keeps the nutrients while reducing both shipping of water and fresh produce waste. KEHO uses sea salt, not Himalayan pink salt, as it is not sustainable. Real food ingredients also include premium nuts, salad-quality oil dressings, herbs and spices. There are no fake flavorings, gluten or GMOs.
CEO and Founder Tekla Back was born and grew up in Finland, where the forests are called “green gold.” She grew up recycling and composting, foraging, and learning to respect nature. Later, while at PepsiCo, she worked on sourcing sustainable palm oil, which ended up in the UN Sustainability Goals.
To aspiring changemakers, Back says, “Little changes add up to big impact. It would be so much easier to make another sugary or salty carb-loaded, animal derivative snack – just like it is easier to eat them. Instead, with KEHO, we’re building a new category of savory real food snacking that is humane, with a conscience. We are striving to make positive change easier, bite by bite, which adds up to a big impact.”
5. Tofurky Plant-Based Protein Products
Tofurky is the leading independent plant-based protein producer in the nation, making foods with sustainable ingredients that are vegan and also delicious. All Tofurky products are 100% non-GMO, using local and organic ingredients whenever possible. They includes a line of sausages and dogs, grounds, tempeh, roasts, deli slices, and new burgers.
President and CEO Jaime Athos got his start thanks to his stepfather Seth Tibbot, who was inspired to create the business after reading Diet For a Small Planet. With Turtle Island Foods, Tibbot began crafting tempeh for himself and friends. His company later rebranded as Tofurky. Back in 1995, there were far fewer brands catering to a plant-based lifestyle. It was challenging to convince retailers that there were indeed consumers interested in veganism, even though it consistently was being proven as better for one’s health and the planet.
Since then, as consumer awareness around environmental impact of what we eat has shifted, Tofurky has grown significantly to a global brand available on six continents with a robust portfolio of plant-based protein options. It also just launched a sister company, Moocho, a plant-based dairy company that offers a line of melty shreds designed for tacos, nachos, pizza and pasta.
“Don’t be afraid to explore uncharted territories,” Athos says to aspiring changemakers. “In some respects, Tofurky was ahead of its time. We’ve been successful in scaling without compromising our foundation of putting purpose before profits.”
6. Lil Bucks Sprouted Buckwheat Snacks
Lil Bucks is the first dedicated sprouted buckwheat brand in the US. The company makes crunchy, grain-free snacks out of this sustainable, vegan superfood.
CEO and Founder Emily Griffith always has loved outdoor sports, so taking care of the planet piqued her interest at a young age. After graduating college, she worked at an ad agency where her primary client was one of the biggest food companies in the country. That experience opened her eyes to how corporations approach sustainability and how much more needs to be done. She was inspired to create her own sustainable food brand. Hence Lil Bucks was born.
“Don’t forget to take care of yourself – sleep, eat healthy, get moving, and take breaks,” Griffith says to aspiring changemakers. “When you do that, you will get your best work done. Enacting big change is a long road with many obstacles, so you don’t want to burn yourself out early on.”
7. RIND Superfruit Snacks
RIND offers a line of skin-on dried superfruit snacks focused on the power of the peel. By leaving the skin on its fruit, RIND helped to save 100,000 pounds of food from being wasted in 2020 alone. Fruit rinds are also a nutritional powerhouse, providing up to three times the fiber and Vitamin C content of traditional dried fruit with no added sugar.
CEO Matt Weiss offers this advice to aspiring changemakers. “Plant seeds! You never know when any one relationship or opportunity will bear fruit, but when they do, any one of them could be a game-changer.”
8. Joolies Organic Dates
Joolies sells fresh, organic Medjool dates – nature’s perfect snack food. Dates are a fresh fruit grown in sunny arid climates, including Joolies’ Southern California farm. These days, dates are mostly hidden in energy bars or generic tubs. But Joolies believes these unsung nutritional heroes deserve the spotlight. One of their products is Ugglies – so called because these dates have minor imperfections that make them unfit for packaging under normal circumstances. But Joolie believes these ugly dates should be eaten rather than wasted, since they are still healthy and delicious.
Cofounders David Kohl and Greg Willsey were some of the first date farmers in the world to go organic. “We saw our soil as a precious resource, as well as the water,” they say. “We did not want to add chemicals to our soil because we knew it would eventually find its way into our trees, the fruit, and ultimately our bodies. With these values in place, it was only natural as a next step to look at the sustainability of our packaging.”
To aspiring changemakers, the Joolies cofounders say, “Make your mission a part of your organization’s culture and your brand identity so that it is always front and center. Always set lofty goals but be willing to make incremental changes to get there over time. Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
9. Pop Bitties Ancient Grain Snacks
Pop Bitties offers a delicious way to enjoy ancient grains with its flagship Pop Bitties chips. These are made from sorghum, an 8,000-year-old grain that is gentle on the planet, sustainable, and drought-resistant, using just a fraction of the resources that other grains require. And it has an amazing nutritional profile.
Founder Mark Andrus made his first foray into the healthy snack space many years ago as the original founder and product developer of Stacy’s Pita Chips. After that, he worked for several years as a food consultant for struggling startup companies before developing an interest in ancient grains.
To aspiring changemakers, Andrus says, “No matter where you are in your journey, it’s never too late to focus your energy on the things that make your heart sing. Surround yourself with people who share the same values. Be kind, choose right over wrong, lead through listening and collaboration, and don’t forget to follow your passions and give back.”
10. Barbara’s Natural Cereals and Snacks
Barbara’s was one of the original brands to pioneer the natural cereal space over 40 years ago. Made from wholesome ingredients, the products are non-GMO, organic and vegan. Fan-favorite product lines include Puffins Cereals and Cheese Puffs.
Director of Marketing Krista Arnold first realized the power of food when her husband developed a chronic condition that drastically impacted his quality of life. A year later, she was invited to work at Annie’s Organics, where she saw first-hand the difference food could make not only in people’s lives, but also on the environment. She later joined Three Sisters, the parent company of Barbara’s.
Arnold’s biggest piece of advice to aspiring changemakers is to surround yourself with supporters. “Don’t let others tell you that your path to success is other than what you want it to be. Know what motivates you. If you find yourself logging off work at 4:30 p.m. and not returning to it again until 9 a.m. the next day, then do something else.”