May is AAPI Heritage Month—a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. With the month winding down, we want to spotlight some of our favorite AAPI-owned food brands. As a member of the AAPI community who works in digital advertising, I’m always searching for thought leaders and brands that find unique ways to incorporate their culture and share it with others. Here are three small business food brands doing just that!
Pick-me-ups can go a long way. After finding that most energy products contain synthetic forms of caffeine and other additives, this mother and son company decided to create a natural product that’s 100% fueled by caffeine from real coffee. Pocket Latte’s mission is two-fold, first to fight synthetic energy and reduce the use of synthetic caffeine. Second, they support the children of tomorrow by teaming up with an organization every month to help single parents.
Summer’s sneaking up quick and we all know nothing’s better than a cool dessert on a hot day. Malai—meaning cream of the crop—brings me back to my childhood of sticky-faced smiles eating ice cream on the porch. Their handcrafted ice cream is inspired by South Asian ingredients like ginger, saffron, and cardamom, bringing South Asian heritage to the forefront. Malai is a woman-founded business striving to be a “triple bottom line company,” meaning they want to have positive social, environmental, and financial performance, so you can feel good about having that second helping.
Best known for their Black Sesame Crunchy Butter, Rooted Fare is a Chinese-American woman-owned brand that celebrates their roots with creativity and confidence. The cofounder was inspired by her immigrant chef aunt, who owns a kitchen that fell on hard times during the pandemic—now with each jar sold, she receives part of the brand’s profits to support her business. As a bonus, Rooted Fare has collaborated with AAPI content creators for AAPI Heritage Month by using their products in recipes.
Supporting AAPI-owned brands amplifies members of an often overlooked community, which can foster a deeper appreciation of cultures within the American melting pot. Whether you’re trying caffeine-infused chocolate for the first time, indulging in sweet and creamy saffron ice cream, or spreading an alternative to peanut butter on your morning toast, stock up your pantry and fridge with some delicious food products—it’s a great way to celebrate AAPI heritage month!