Allyship comes in many forms. Donating, voting and self-educating are ways to support marginalized communities. The choices in which brands we purchase from express our personal values. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, anti-Asian hate crimes have surged in the United States. A national report from Stop AAPI Hate indicates that in March 2021 alone, documented incidents against the AAPI community increased from 3795 to 6603, a near 75% spike.

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Supporting Asian-owned businesses not only shows solidarity but is also an avenue for cultural discovery. The kitchen is a great place to embrace new flavors, traditions and experiences different from your own. In honor of Asian American Heritage Month, here is a list of AAPI-owed (and many female run!) food and drink brands to try. Their unique products and impactful missions are sure to spark some socially conscious indulgence.

1. Gr8nola

Gr8nola is changing the breakfast game. It was founded by former Olympic Trials swimmer and entrepreneur, Erica Liu Williams, after a post-Super Bowl cleanse. With “No BS” ingredients and delicious flavors like Matcha Vibes and Cinnamon Chai, it’s no wonder actress Halle Berry raves about it. Williams developed the granola with health benefits in mind to satisfy both your tastebuds and body. Her small-batch recipes omit inflammatory oils, pesky additives, refined sugars, soy and dairy. What started as an experiment to create a tasty snack for her husband grew into a full-time granola operation. Today, Erica continues to make clean eating available to the Bay Area and beyond, one bag at a time.

2. Jack + Friends Jerky

Jessica Kwong, the creator of Jack + Friends Jerky, believes in inclusive snacking for all. Made from jackfruit and “friends” like tomato and ginger, this plant-based jerky boasts nutritional and environmental benefits. Jackfruit is full of potassium, iron and magnesium, and its high antioxidant content supports immune and heart health. As a meat alternative, increased use of jackfruit means less harmful factory farming. Since Kwong launched the brand in 2019, the Jack community has expanded to include three delicious flavors: Tomato & Poblano Pepper, Ginger Teriyaki, and Sweet Barbecue.

3. Tea Drops

Make your morning or afternoon sips environmentally friendly with Tea Drops, a woman-owned company with a vast selection of organic, bagless teas. Founder and CEO Sashee Chandran prides herself on the company’s female-forward approach from harvest to cup. Their fair trade tea, pressed into adorable shapes like hearts and stars, dissolves in water without wasteful teabags or packaging. Choose your tea based on caffeine content, flavor or mood. There’s the classic Citrus Ginger flavor or Chandran’s favorite, Chai Spice. True tea lovers can join the Tea Club and receive a monthly box with 16 surprise flavors, free gifts, self-care tips and more. For every box of Tea Drops sold, a year’s worth of water supply is donated to the Thirst Project, the world’s largest youth water organization. Now that’s a reason to lift your pinkie!

4. Nona Lim

Experience the streets of Singapore from your kitchen with Nona Lim’s authentic noodles, soups and Asian comfort foods. Founder Nona Lim wanted to recreate the flavors of her childhood with whole, clean foods at the utmost convenience. Her mantra #AllFlavorNoCrap stems from years training as an athlete and working as a certified nutrition consultant. Lim adapted century-old recipes into her best-selling Heat & Sip Cups and Stir Fry kits using fresh vegetables, spices and herbs. Gluten-free and vegan foodies will rejoice over the range of plant-based offerings like Pad Thai, Pad See Ew and Carrot Ginger Soup. Designed for a variety of lifestyles, Nona Lim’s products can fuel your next workout or dinner for a cozy night in.

5. Wildwonder

A combination of contemporary taste and ancient nutrition best describes Wildwonder’s immune-boosting drinks. Her grandmother’s self-brewed tonics inspired Rosa Li to share their gut-healing abilities. Vegan probiotics, superherbs, and California-grown fruit juices are added to encourage a healthy gut, brain function and mood. Just like their vivacious packaging, Guava Rose and Turmeric Pear pop with flavor. Five percent of profits from every bottle sold is reinvested in causes that empower women and marginalized communities. During the pandemic, Wildwonder donated more than 10,000 bottles to hospitals, healthcare workers and shelters in the Bay Area to provide nutritious sipping for all.

6. Bokksu

Time spent in Japan opened up a world of snacks to Danny Taing, who found it difficult to track down his favorites in the U.S. United by a love of Japanese food, Taing and his friends founded Bokksu. The monthly subscription box bursts with locally-sourced finds, many of which have been perfected by families over generations. Taing’s mission is to empower these independent snack makers by making their products and stories more accessible. Each month is themed according to holidays, festivals and seasons with designs curated by Taing’s team. For a real taste of Japan, the first box includes fan favorites like Mocchan Dango Mochi and Handmade Yuzu Sake Candy and Hokkaido Red Bean Doughnuts. 

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

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Though May is Asian American Heritage Month, supporting these communities shouldn’t be limited to a specific time of year. We have the responsibility to uplift marginalized voices and celebrate their presence in the marketplace. Supporting any one of these brands is the perfect place to start.