How food stories can power your food business

31 August 2023

In the latest episode of our Food Founders podcast, we had the pleasure of hearing from Jared Spencer of Riddim Snacks. Riddim is brand that’s making waves in the world of Caribbean-inspired vegan and free-from snacks, with powerful food stories informing the development of his product range.

Jared shared the stories behind his innovative range of snacks, his inspirations, and how he’s created an award-winning brand of ‘free from’ snacks with punchy, authentic flavours. His snacks have not only captured taste buds but have also received some highly respected seals of approval. The secret ingredient? Food that tells a story.

Listen to Jared talk about Riddim and its food stories, on the Food Founders Interviews podcast.

Riddim Snacks - How food stories can power great productsFounded in 2022, Riddim Snacks draws its inspiration from the flavours and the stories of the Caribbean. The brand evolved from Jared’s passion and experience of training and working in the food industry. At the core of its unique business model is authentic Caribbean representation. Riddim prides itself on being an inclusive brand that aims to educate consumers on the stories behind Caribbean culture while presenting novel concepts and flavours that excite everyday foodies, the West Indian diaspora, and the growing vegan community.

Food stories as inspiration and motivation

Growing up in Barbados with dietary allergies, Jared’s first memory of food is perhaps every child’s nightmare – seeing his share of birthday cake replaced with an apple cinnamon rice cake at a party due to his allergies. This sense of exclusion ignited his desire to create food with an element of inclusion that could speak to a broader range of people.

“It was that exclusion from food that made me want to pursue food and food sciences, and that pushed me to launch Riddim, which is dietarily inclusive. I also wanted it to be something that the West Indian diaspora and West Indies back home can be proud of – to see a product that speaks to them and their culture and has an element of social inclusion.”

Creating food that tells a story

Jared grew up in Barbados, in what he describes as a strict food household that homed in the role that food plays in the cause, prevention and management of chronic disease from an early age. At university, he explored this exciting interplay. However, exploring the relationship between food, health, and chronic diseases soon evolved into a fascination with how food tells stories and relates to society.

“Food is such a powerful gateway into a country or a region’s culture and history. I wanted to explore that and, essentially, how do we tell the stories of where we come from through the food that we eat. I think that if you’re developing products, you can tell the story of whatever you’re trying to say through the food.”

From concept to reality

During his third year of study, Jared was challenged with creating a product that put sustainability at the core of its business model. Riddim was established as a vehicle to tell authentic food stories of the Caribbean. Jared explained that the brand was born because he was dissatisfied with how Caribbean culture is represented in the British commercial space. He realised that every product he developed was an opportunity to tell a true story about his home.

The brand’s Vegan Scotch Bonnet Cheddar Plantain Chips are inspired by a fusion of British mustard and scotch bonnet chillies that would be spread on cheese cutters (the Jamaican version of a sandwich). To Jared, it encapsulates the rich history of Caribbean condiments in a modern snack. Meanwhile, Riddim’s newest product is a vegan coconut caramel popcorn spiced with hints of cinnamon and ginger, inspired by beachside coconut snowcones and warm Bajan sweet bread. Full of exciting flavours, they are also free from all 14 major allergens.

Award-winning products

Despite being a relatively new business, Riddim’s accolades already speak volumes about its impact – he was recently awarded a Free From Awards silver medal and recognised with a Great Taste Award. Today, Riddim is known as an award-winning business big on taste but vegan and inclusive.

To hear more about Jared and Riddim’s food stories, check out the podcast.