The Specialty Food Association has been presenting Leadership Awards since 2013. In 2020, for the first time, all three recipients were women.
With women-owned businesses on the rise, the number of specialty food companies and restaurants owned by women has grown as well. According to the National Restaurant Association, women-owned businesses grew at a rate three times higher that the overall restaurant industry from 2007-2012.
At the 2018 Summer Fancy Food Show, panelists noted that many of the female entrepreneurs are taking a more holistic approach to things like supply chains, with an attitude of sustaining, growing and building, rather than just harvesting.
At Chobani Incubator, a program to help start-ups bring better food to more people, more than half the businesses that apply for the program, and 80 percent of the businesses accepted, are co-founded or founded by women.
From restaurants, to industry-focused incubators, to niche product lines that started in kitchens, women are bringing their talents and vision the specialty food industry.