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TQE’s first annual ‘Best Of’ campaign celebrates the head-turning, drool-worthy, seriously-can’t-live-without brands we obsessed over this past year. We sample a *lot* of products – this week, meet the ones that have stood out.
The direct-to-consumer food space is booming, offering updated spins on your classic meats, sweets, spices, and snacks. Wave goodbye to shelf-stable bores and subscribe to the new wave of sustenance: these bright, clean, and tasty treats can now be delivered straight to your doorstep. Take a bite out of TQE’s best food picks below.
A celebration of our sweet tooth is something we can get behind. Founder Mayssa Chehatra teamed up with world-renowned chef Elizabeth Falkner to create the brand’s deliciously low-sugar, artificial-ingredient-free Sweet Bears, Sour Bears, and Sour Stars ($30) after realizing the candy aisle could use a facelift. Giving a damn feels – and tastes – great with BEHAVE.
We recommend Brightland a lot at TQE. From the brand’s Signature Olive Oils crafted from best-in-class, family-farmed olives to its Vinegars (from $22), Honeys ($42), and Candles ($42), Brightland’s commitment to quality and traceability is both impressive and noteworthy (especially in industries laden with fillers and junk). The brand proves that pure and clean ingredients make a huge difference in feeling your best.
From frozen smoothie cups to a full-line meal service made from whole fruits and veggies delivered straight to your door, Daily Harvest has blossomed over the past five years. Serving up everything from OG Smoothies in flavors like Mint + Cacao, Strawberry + Peach, and Chocolate + Blueberry to Harvest Bowls, Bakes, Flatbreads, Soups, and way, way more, Daily Harvest is rethinking our food system to consider what we eat and how we grow it.
A relatively new entrant to the DTC space, DEUX wows with its vegan, gluten-free, vitamin-enhanced cookie dough. The brand makes a point of using fewer, real ingredients – rather than hyperfocusing on calorie counts – to redefine what treating yourself means. Some of our favorite DEUX flavors include Brownie Batter ($15), a recent Birthday Cake collab with Summer Fridays ($15), and Drip ($15), the brand’s take on Nutella.
Dedicated to introducing Americans to the convenience, nutritional benefits, and deliciousness of shelf-stable seafood, Fishwife leans on ethical sourcing and cute branding to capture part of the growing tinned fish market. With offerings like Smoked Rainbow Trout ($26.99), Wild-Caught Smoked Albacore Tuna ($26.99), and Wild-Caught Sardines in Extra Olive Oil + Preserved Lemon ($23.99), the female-founded brand introduces conservas to American eaters in a deliciously-fun way.
Fly By Jing
This modern Asian food brand was named for China’s popular hole-in-the-wall eateries that attract diners like flies. Fly By Jing’s offerings – like an internet-favorite Sichuan Crisp ($15), Zhong Sauce ($15), and new-this-year Frozen Dumplings ($39) and Hot Pot Set ($135) – are certainly living up to the popularity of their name. They’ve been covered by Forbes, Food & Wine, and The New York Times and are now available in Whole Foods, Costco, and Target.
Last Crumb introduces the popular “drop” model to over-the-top cookies – the most 2022 sentence ever, we know. The insanely good “Rolex of Cookies” entered the market after 10 years of research and development, and you can truly taste the difference. Sign up to receive notifications of the brand’s drops that always sell out. You won’t find another box of cookies like these.
A cereal company, and so much more. OffLimits tastes like the sugary-cereal of your childhood, but it’s actually good for you. Flavors like Coffee and Strawberry ($8.50) wow, but what really sends OffLimits into ‘Best Of’ territory is the expressive nature of the brand. From Cereal Glitter ($2.50) to artist collaborations, multiple Euphoria features, and NFT collections, OffLimits is the next wave of breakfast.
Oishii’s strawberries are a modern recreation of the Omakase Strawberry, found seasonally in the Japanese Alps. The innovative company uses vertical farming technology to replicate the ideal weather conditions each berry requires all year round. A “culinary experience in every bite,” Oishii’s luxurious fruit is sweet, smooth, and smells as delicious as it tastes.
A sweet response to a laundry list of dietary restrictions, Partake offers delicious and convenient packaged cookies ($14.99) and baking mixes ($23.99) that are gluten-free, vegan, and free of the top 9 allergens. Inspired by her daughter’s food allergies and supported by Rihanna and Jay-Z (seriously – both have invested in the brand), Denise Woodard is on a mission to change the face of CPG food and beverage and eradicate food insecurity along the way with Partake.
Toodaloo is every snacker’s dream: the brand has infused adaptogens into its actually-good-for-you trail mixes. Flavors like Smokeshow, Deja Brew, and Turning Heads ($39) – made with real nuts, seeds, spices, fruits, and flowers – introduce a new taste, crunch, and feeling into the snacking experience. The brand’s exceptional branding and commitment to sustainability offer a whipped cream and cherry on top one-two punch.
Need a drink to wash down these treats? Stay tuned for our Best of Bev feature later this week!