Food companies come and go, but some seem primed to be at the forefront of a revolution. From an app that lets you pay your restaurant bill automatically to a burger chain that’s commanding lines out the door, these eight companies are definitely ones worth watching.
Queens-based Bareburger has locations in New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio, and even Tokyo, and is still rapidly expanding. The secret to its success? High quality ingredients. All meat (including beef, bison, elk, ostrich, lamb, and wild boar) is organic and all-natural, and they’re actually serving healthy burgers, made with lower fat-content meat, all-natural breads, organic and pesticide free vegetables, and cheese from grass-fed cows. Even the décor is sustainable, made with reclaimed wood and recycled vinyl. If there’s one burger chain that’s looking to the future, it’s Bareburger.
Cover, developed by cofounders Mark Egerman and Andrew Cove, lets you dine and dash and not get in trouble for it. Here’s how it works: You download the app, enter your credit card info and preferred tip (which you can change at any time), then let the restaurant know that you’ll be paying with Cover when you arrive. After you’re finished with your meal all you need to do is leave, and the restaurant will automatically charge your card, no questions asked. And if multiple people are dining, it can even be split between them. About 200 of New York’s best restaurants and top spots on San Francisco and Los Angeles are also on board, with more added all the time.
From big cities to small towns across the country, Instacart is making grocery shopping a whole lot easier. The site connects you with personal shoppers in your area who take your grocery list, go shopping for you at your local supermarket (including Costco and Whole Foods), and deliver your items right to your door within an hour or two. It’s that easy – and that revolutionary.
Jerky isn’t something we give much thought to, but Krave is turning it into an artisanal food item. All-natural, whole muscle-cut, hand-sliced meat is marinated for 48 hours and then baked, resulting in a premium product. It’s free of usual jerky additives like nitrites and MSG, and the flavors are unlike any you’ve seen before: black cherry barbecue pork, basil citrus and lemon garlic turkey, and chili lime, pineapple orange, sweet chipotle, and chili lime beef jerky. They’ve also recently released Krave Artisanal, featuring small-batch flavors like sesame ginger and cabernet rosemary beef jerky, honey peach pork jerky, and chardonnay lime turkey jerky (but so far not chocolate, despite the fact that Krave is now owned by Hershey). Krave came on the scene, and jerky was never the same again.
Frozen dinners get a pretty bad rap, but Luvo is changing that. These fresh-frozen entrees are made with wholesome ingredients and contain no artificial preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, or hydrogenated fats; and they're made with organic, non-GMO ingredients whenever possible. Food items include chicken chile verde, quinoa and vegetable enchiladas, red wine braised beef and polenta, and oat bran and ricotta pancakes, and investors include Derek Jeter and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Those looking for a protein-packed lunch or dinner just need to visit Protein Bar, which has locations in Chicago, Washington D.C., and Colorado. The mission of Protein Bar is to change the way people eat on the go, and while they serve food fast, it’s certainly not fast food. Menu items include a burrito, salad, or bowl with braised barbecue beef; quinoa, corn, kale slaw, grape tomatoes, radishes, and agave barbecue sauce; egg white scrambles; chicken and vegetarian chili; and a wide variety of blended drinks and cold pressed juices.
School lunches are notoriously far from nourishing, but Revolution Foods is setting out to change that. This company creates more than a million healthy and fresh meals per week, serving foods that are minimally processed, contain no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors or additives, and always contain fruits and vegetables. Revolution Foods is making sure that kids get proper nutrition at school (especially kids on free and reduced meal programs), which is a very good thing.
When does a burger chain that isn’t called Shake Shack command lines out the door? When it’s Umami Burger, which started in Los Angeles and has since been spreading the gospel nationwide. What makes Umami Burger so good? House-ground, hand-formed patties, for one. Toppings are also insanely creative and delicious – try the Umami (Parmesan frico, shiitake mushroom, roasted tomato, caramelized onion, and housemade ketchup) or Manly (beer-cheddar cheese, bacon, smoked salt onion strings, house ketchup, mustard spread). You also can’t go wrong with their seared ahi, turkey, or black bean patties. Umami Burger is taking the fast food burger to extraordinary new heights – if you can snag a table.