Many times, when we hear the words “buy black” some of think of little trinkets, music, maybe even restaurants, but what about grocery stores? Some of the biggest players in helping getting rid of food deserts in the African American community are Black owned grocery stores.
So, this coming holiday season or whenever you do your grocery shopping, you may want to use some of these stores to recycle the Black dollar.
The ideal neighborhood grocery store is a community anchor and serves as a social hub. It is part of the neighborhood’s fabric and a source of pride in the area.
Although it is rare to see them, there are some Black-owned grocery stores in America. Check out our list below.
Black Owned Grocery Brands to Buy From All Year Long
All of the following Black-owned grocery products can be found either in person or online. Any one of them would be a great addition to your pantry, today and every day. Check them out (literally and figuratively).
1. Partake Foods
When a brand claims to sell cookies that are totally allergen-free — no dairy, soy, nuts, gluten or eggs — it’s natural to wonder what’s inside. In the case of Partake Foods’ line of crunchy cookies and baking mixes, the answer is oat and cassava flour, natural sugars, and whole foods like apples, ginger, and pumpkin. You can find them at Whole Foods, Target, Wegmans, or a Trader Joe’s near you.
Buy: Partake Chocolate Chip Cookies, $6.09 at Target
2. Triple A Gourmet Eats
Triple A sells three varieties of Chin Chin, a West African snack consisting of baked or fried wheat flour dough. Although they taste great solo, Triple A recommends using the Chin Chin as croutons or crunchy ice cream toppings, or alongside a strong cup of coffee.
Buy: Triple A Chin Chin, $15.80 for 14 ounces
3. Capital City Mambo Sauce
If you know anyone from D.C., chances are you have heard of mambo sauce, a red, tangy condiment (almost like a ketchup alternative) that’s most famously considered a must-have accompaniment to chicken wings and fries. The sauce used to be one of those enigmatic regional foods, found only at local Chinese carryout restaurants. So when D.C. natives Arsha Jones and her husband, Charles, moved to Maryland, they started toying with a recipe, and Capital City Mambo Sauce was born.
Buy: Capital City Mambo Sauce, $11.99 for 12 ounces
4. Pitmaster LT
While there may be some debate about this brand’s claims that Kansas City is the “Barbecue Capital of the World,” the quality of Pitmaster LT sauce is not up for discussion. The Kansas City-style sauces come in Original or Spicy, and are free from allergens and preservatives. They also sell dry rub blends, if you want to expand beyond the sauce. Find them in a range of stores across the U.S. and Canada.
More info: Pitmaster LT, $29.95 for three 18-ounce bottles
5. Essie Spice
From a nutty dry rub to a tangy tamarind marinade, Essie Spice’s products are anything but ordinary. Their flavor blends were created by the founder Essie Bartels, who grew up in Ghana loving spices and exotic foods. Shop her products in Whole Foods or another location near you.
More info: Essie Spice
6. Yummy Spoonfuls
When you’re raised to grow the food you eat, it’s tough to switch to packaged foods. So when Cameroon-born Agatha Achindu had kids of her own here in the U.S., she worked to create kid-friendly foods made with organic ingredients. Yummy Spoonfuls’ line of frozen meals and microwavable bowls can be found at a Walmart near you.
Buy: Yummy Spoonfuls Organic Chicken Sweet Potato Bites, $8.96 at Walmart
7. A Dozen Cousins
For many cultures, beans are comfort food, a taste of home. That’s true for Ibraheem Basir, the founder of A Dozen Cousins, a brand creating microwavable pouches of various bean blends. The Caribbean, Latin, and Creole cuisines he grew up with are reflected in his brand’s bean varieties, which include Refried Pinto Beans, Cuban Black Beans, and a limited-edition nod to New Orleans red beans and rice.
Buy: A Dozen Cousins, $29.99 for a pack of eight 10-ounce pouches
“Let the good times roll” is the closest translation of Yolélé, a term used in West and Central Africa to express the sentiment. Yolélé the food brand makes products using fonio, an ancient grain that is otherwise not so easy to find in the U.S. Look for their pilaf blends and fonio chips at Whole Foods and Fresh Market.
Buy: Yolélé Fonio, $19.95 for three 10-ounce pouches
9. Glory Foods
Even if you’re not familiar with Glory Foods, you’ve likely passed their products on the grocery shelves. They sell a range of canned foods including fruits and beans and vegetable medleys. Unlike many other canned products on the shelf, some Glory varieties come pre-seasoned. Their canned collard greens and black-eyed peas are a major cheat code for anyone adhering to the American Southern tradition of eating both with cornbread on New Year’s Day for good luck.
More info: Glory Foods
10. Iya Foods
Good products and positive impact are the top priorities at Iya Foods, which creates seasoning blends, baking mixes, and allergy-friendly flours like cassava, fonio, and tapioca. They aim for environmental sustainability by working with local growers and engaging in energy-efficient production practices. Browse their entire slate of packaged foods here.
Buy: Iya Foods Cassava Flour, $11.96 for 1 pound
11. BLK & Bold Coffee
Single-origin, decaf, light roast and dark, BLK & Bold Coffee sells a range of coffee blends, plus a handful of loose-leaf teas. It’s not just about the beverages, though: Founders Pernell Cezar and Rod Johnson started the brand to “make purpose popular.” The company pledges 5% of its profits to organizations and programs focused on ending youth homelessness and improving workforce development.
Buy: BLK & Bold Coffee, $25.98 for two 12-ounce bags
12. Red Bay Coffee
This San Francisco Bay Area brand eagerly claims a seat at the forefront of the coffee industry’s fourth wave: a push for quality coffee that is not only sustainably produced, but also accounts for diversity and equity in every way. Founded by food entrepreneur and artist Keba Konte in 2014, the Red Bay blends reflect an intimate understanding of the coffee-making process, as well as a deep appreciation for community and culture. They can be found on Amazon and at Whole Foods and other shops in California.
Buy: Red Bay Coffee Carver’s Dream, $18.99 for 12 ounces
Golde Founder Trinity Mouzon started mixing the brand’s flagship turmeric latte blends when she experienced skin issues after moving to New York City. The company has since expanded the lineup, adding superfood face masks and, most recently, a line of dietary supplements.
Buy: Golde Original Turmeric Superfood Latte Blend, $29.99 for 4.5 ounces at Target
14. Vegan Smart
For vegans and vegetarians who are looking to get more protein, the answer is simple: Vegan Smart’s line of protein powders and shakes. These shakes come in seven flavors and varieties, each with a protein blend that contains all the essential amino acids, plus prebiotics, vitamins, and minerals — all without allergens and artificial sweeteners.
Buy: Vegan Smart Plant Based Vegan Protein Powder, $27.99 for 22 ounces
15. Mama’s Biscuits
Whenever the craving strikes, pick up a pan of Mama’s Biscuits baked, ready-to-eat biscuits. They’re handmade with real butter, and none of the trans fat or preservatives. They come in sweet, savory, and vegan varieties (no butter in the vegan ones, of course).
More info: Mama’s Biscuits
16. Trade St. Jam Co.
What is a biscuit without jam? Trade Street jams have very little added sugar and no preservatives, making them about as close to homestyle as you can get on the grocery shelves. Find them at a specialty shop near you.
More info: Trade Street Jam Co.
17. Vicky Cakes
Vicky Cakes’ CEO Christian Sargent took her mom’s 40-year-old recipe and turned it into a huge pancake mix business. The original recipe is vegan, using no milk powders or animal products like other popular brands. Instead, it calls for the addition of milk or buttermilk when you mix it, allowing you to choose whether you want dairy milk or plant-based. They also use real food for their specialty mixes — whole blueberries and whole pecans instead of artificial bits and pieces.
Buy: Original Pancake & Waffle Mix by Vicky Cakes, $15.99 for three 4-ounce pouches
18. Michele Foods
When you reach for the syrup, that can be Black-owned, too. Michele’s Foods has been around for 36 years, but exploded in popularity last year, after backlash against a well-known syrup brand with a racially-charged face and name. Michele’s goes beyond basic syrup with flavors like Butter Pecan and Honey Creme. Find her syrups at Meijer and Kroger stores.
More info: Michele Foods
19. McBride Sisters
The next time you find yourself in the wine aisle at your local grocer, be sure to look for McBride Sisters. Created by two long-lost sisters who bonded over a common love of wine, the McBride Sisters lineup includes their signature collection, Black Girl Magic California wines, and She Can 12-ounce canned wines that offer a mix of their wines and spritzers. Shop their products at Kroger, Trader Joes, Target, or your local wine shop.
Buy: McBride Sisters Sauvignon Blanc, $22 for 750 mL at Wine.com
20. Ivyees Honey
When founder Ivy Lawson — a non-honey lover — tried Jamaican honey for the first time, she was hooked. So much so that she left a 20-year corporate engineering career and moved with her sons to Jamaica to become a bee farmer. Thus, Ivyees was born. The brand sells a lot of honey products, leaning on the sticky substance’s natural healing and antibacterial properties. But their edible honey blends are best-sellers, with special infusions like Hibiscus & Sorrel and Creamed Floral Ginger.
More info: Ivyees
Credit: Courtesy of Zach & Zoe
21. Zach and Zoë Sweet Bee Farm
Another honey option! Zach and Zoë Sweet Bee Farm was born out of necessity when the founders’ youngest son, Zach developed bad seasonal allergies. They were buying lots of local honey and seeing great results. Eventually, the couple took the plunge to become full-time beekeepers.
Buy: Raw Wildflower Honey, $20 for 16 ounces at Zach and Zoë Sweet Bee Farm
22. Misha’s Kind Foods
Misha’s Kind Foods sells a slate of non-dairy cheeses in decadent varieties. Black Truffle, Smoked Cheddar, and a Lox flavor made with dill, capers, and roasted carrots are just begging to be smeared on a cracker or bagel. While all the cheeses are vegan, they clearly state all ingredients and other potential allergens to make sure it’s safe for everyone who takes a bite. Shop online or in stores along the West Coast.
Buy: Black Truffle Non-Dairy Cheese, $10 for 8 ounces at Misha’s Kind Foods
If cocktails are more your speed, Avec will elevate your at-home bartending game. Their low-calorie, low-sugar mixers are made with real juices and botanicals in vibrant flavors like Yuzu & Lime, Hibiscus & Pomegranate, and Jalapeño & Blood Orange (margarita night, here I come!). Preorder their collection online — it ships this month — or find them in specialty stores across New York.
Buy: Avec Carbonated Mixers, $45 for 12 8-ounce cans at Avec
Black Owned Grocery Stores Near Me Across the USA
DAILY ORGANICS (LOS ANGELES, CA)
If you are looking for organic produce, Daily Organics is a Black-owned market that curates delicious organic produce and other products. They are dedicated to providing the highest grade of food, so all items are examined before they purchase them for the market. Also, this market has its very own coffee blend, the Daily Organics House Blend, which is roasted locally for optimum freshness. No GMOs desired? No problem! | dailyorganicsla.com
GROCERY OUTLET (COMPTON, CA)
Eugene Bennette owns the Grocery Outlet in Compton. He takes pride in promoting healthy eating in the African-American community, targeting diabetes education and other health issues. | groceryoutlet.com
FORTY ACRES FRESH MARKET (CHICAGO, IL)
Owner Liz Abunaw wants her grocery service to speak directly to Black Americans, to fight against food equality in minority neighborhoods. This Black-owned market is located on the West Side of Chicago. The name itself is distinctly Black and reminiscent of the unfulfilled promise to freed slaves in 1865 for 40 acres and a mule. The grocery service is committed to bringing healthy food to the neighborhood so the local community can have equal access to foods that promote a sound and vigorous mentality. | fortyacresfreshmarket.com/
OJAEXPRESS (CHICAGO, IL)
OjaExpress brings people and culture together through food. The concept was conceived to eliminate the restrictions of availability for outlandish cuisines. Enjoy the best of African, Asian, Indian, Mediterranean, Latin, Caribbean, and of course American, foods. | ojaexpress.com
CLEO’S BODEGA GROCERY AND CAFÉ (INDIANAPOLIS, IN)
This Black-owned grocery store and café serves as a food hub for the community. They provide fresh meats, vegetables and packaged food. Their produce is grown by Flanner House, Cleo’s parent organization. | flannerhouse.org/cleos-bodega-cafe/
MODALAND MARKET PLACE (LAS VEGAS, NV)
If you are looking for a wide range of African and Caribbean products, Modaland is the place to go. You can satisfy your outlandish taste buds and browse clothes, handbags, and slippers to update your wardrobe as well. | modalandmarket.com
WEST PHILLIE PRODUCE (PHILADELPHIA, PA)
Arnett Woodall clearly understands how eating healthy affects a community. His mission is to bring food that is affordable and fresh to inner city food deserts. Woodall employs neighborhood youth at his Black-owned grocery store, and he teaches them life skills as well as the basics of running a community-based grocery store. | westphillieproduce.com