Innovating in the East

Even though New York City is a hot spot for new food companies to gain traction, brands are innovating with ready-to-go options for busy lives all along the Eastern seaboard.

Smiling Hara Tempeh Soy-Free Smoked Salt and Pepper Hempeh

Ideal for vegetarians who eschew soy, this Asheville, North Carolina-based brand’s “hempeh” is sure to please. With 22 grams of protein per serving, this delicious gluten-free meat alternative is made with fermented peanuts, hempseeds and brown rice flour and seasoned with smoked sea salt and black pepper. This hearty hempeh cutlet can be treated like a steak—brush with oil and grill or bake, or slice and add to stir-fries. SRP: $5.99

True Made Foods Vegetable Ketchup

Traditional ketchup ranks low on the nutrition scale. Sure, it contains tomatoes, but most brands pack in refined sugars. To deliver a healthier sauce, this Washington, D.C.-based brand incorporates vegetables such as butternut squash, carrots and spinach into tomato puree. This low-sugar condiment pairs well with grilled cheese, burgers or sweet potato fries. Also available in veggie-filled BBQ Sauce and Veracha Hot Sauce. SRP: $5.99

New Pop Skinless Popcorn Hot and Sweet

The folks behind this New York–based brand retooled everyone’s favorite movie theater nosh by omitting the crunchy skin that gets stuck between teeth. Popped with high-pressure technology, these slightly sweet corn kernels have zero oil, butter or salt and only 32 calories per serving. The Hot and Sweet flavor is made with just three ingredients: corn, red chili peppers and raw organic cane sugar. Other flavors include Original and Sweet Cinnamon. SRP: $2.99 to $3.29

Fawen Drinkable Soup Sweet Potato & Red Lentil

Disclosure: Fawen’s new organic ready-to-drink soups haven’t been through an accelerator program, but we love the innovation (and flavor!). This version is a delightful beta-carotene-packed blend of sweet potatoes, onions, red lentils, coconut water, coconut milk, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, ginger root and ground turmeric. Each serving delivers just 220 mg of sodium, relatively low for the drinkable soup category. SRP: $6.99

Molli True Mexican Flavors Veracruz Cooking Sauce

Molli True’s beautiful authentic cooking sauces are inspired by cities in Mexico. This bright red beauty, emblematic of the port city of Veracruz, is a sweet-spicy blend of tomatoes, onions, green olives, salt, garlic and the robustly flavored smoked Morita peppers. Suggest Veracruz for authentic fish dishes—just simmer and serve over rice. Also available in delectable flavors that nod to cuisines from Mexico City, Morelos, Acapulco and more. SRP: $8.99