Snacks & Candy

Foxtrot’s Up & Comers Awards Highlight Small Makers

Seaweed snacks and jackfruit chips among top winners
foxtrot up & comers winners
Photographs courtesy of Foxtrot

As urban convenience-store retailer Foxtrot Market continues expansion, its influence at uncovering new food brands in America is widening as well.

The Chicago-based retailer recently unveiled the winners of its third annual Up & Comers Awards, which celebrates small makers and discovers the next generation of leading food and beverage brands.

“We started our Up & Comers program two years ago because we realized we don’t just want to stock our shelves, we want to create space on them—space for small makers, for local businesses, for diversity, for change,” according to Foxtrot's website.

With more than 500 submissions, Geem, which is a line of Korean seaweed snacks with a Western twist, was the winner of the Hero Winner category.

Foxtrot Up & Comer

Candace Choi, who founded Geem in 2022 as a college student, posted on LinkedIn that “it's time to expect more from our snacks. We need seaweed more than ever. For its nutrient density and its regenerative climate-saving properties.”

Foxtrot Up & Comers Winners

Launched in 2021, Up & Comers seeks to find small makers ready to take the next big step in entrepreneurship.

Ting’s Jackfruit Chips, which features a sweet and savory offering, is Foxtrot’s Ingredient Innovation Winner. “Our jackfruit chips are made with two real ingredients: ripe jackfruit and a touch of palm oil (RSPO-certified/responsibly-sourced), and nothing else, according to the company website.

Foxtrot Up & Comers

Photograph courtesy of Foxtrot

Foxtrot’s Classic Product Reimagined Winner goes to A Friendly Bread Sourdough Grilled Cheese, which is a restaurant-quality grilled cheese sandwich made from homemade sourdough and Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Founded in 2017, the company describes itself as a snack company that makes “obsessible sourdough snacks out of our delicious sourdough bread. Foxtrot describes the winner as a flash-frozen grilled cheese that is ready to heat and eat.

Foxtrot Up & Comers

Taking a cue from a can of paint, Foxtrot's Best Packaging Winner is a can of coffee. Grounds Coffee, which Foxtrot describes as “beautiful as it is delicious” is a specialty coffee company that is 100% traceable, fair trade and smallholder grown.

Rounding out the final category winners is the Just Damn Good Winner. Taking the top spot for this category is Pink Salt Kitchen’s Thai-style roasted chili jam. Foxtrot said on its website to use the jam like it's your favorite condiment. So don't be surprised to see pink salt spread on everything, including pizza.

Foxtrot Up & Comers winners

Photograph courtesy of Foxtrot

Foxtrot operates more than 30 locations across Chicago, Washington, D.C., Dallas and Austin and plans to merge with urban grocer Dom Kitchen & Market.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a CSP member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content

Snacks & Candy

How Convenience Stores Can Improve Meat Snack, Jerky Sales

Innovation, creative retailers help spark growth in the snack segment


C-Stores Headed in the Right Direction With Rewards Programs

Convenience operators are working to catch up to the success of loyalty programs in other industries

General Merchandise/HBC

How Convenience Stores Can Prepare for Summer Travel Season

Vacationers more likely to spend more for premium, unique products, Lil’ Drug Store director says


More from our partners