Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 7

Omsom offers a
line of meal starters, comof
experiences as the daughters of Vietnamese
refugees, growing up and going into a
mainstream grocery store and seeing this
sad selection of Asian jars and bottles, and
as a kid feeling like it had nothing to do
with me or my culture, " Vanessa Pham said.
" As I got older, I started to realize, wow, this
branding is so stereotypical with dragons
and pandas and bamboo fonts, and the
flavors are so diluted. Whether you're Asian
or you're not Asian, people are not inspired
or delighted by these products. "
In Vietnamese, " om sòm " means noisy,
rambunctious and riotous. The brand uses
vibrant colors, punchy graphics and bold
flavors ( " We don't hold back on the fish
sauce or chili, " Vanessa Pham said).
" Pretty much the antithesis of the
model minority myth " that paints Asian
Americans as quiet and polite, she said.
" We kind of want to reclaim that. That's
the heart and soul of what we're about
- not shrinking into the shadows, not
holding back our ideas and our thoughts,
but sharing them proudly. "
Omsom has attracted tens of
October 12, 2021
thousands of followers
on Instagram, where the
founders share recipes
and shed light on issues
like " why does the 'ethnic' aisle
even exist? " and " the roots of anti-MSG
xenophobia. "
" We're driving these dialogues to
bining the sauces, aromatics,
seasonings and oils needed to
cook specific dishes spanning
Southeast and East Asian
cuisines.
OMSOM
partners of Supply Change
Capital; Bernadette Aulestia,
angel investor; and Jennifer
Yepez-Blundell, owner of
Merida Consulting. Vanessa Pham
is an adviser.
The coalition's efforts include curatdrive
change on multiple fronts, " Vanessa
Pham said. " It's all about bringing people
into our community, being inclusive, but
also helping people on their journey of
learning about all the different ways that
Asian food is seen and discussed that
might be harmful or perpetuating ideas
that it's cheap or not healthy or super salty
or oily or dirty. "
Pull up a chair
The New American Table is a recently
formed coalition of investors and entrepreneurs
pushing for a more inclusive
grocery business. The founding team
includes Ms. Martinez, along with Shayna
Harris and Noramay Cadena, managing
ing conversations around equity and inclusion
and increasing focus and funding
for historically excluded entrepreneurs.
" The food ecosystem is being defined
daily through the types of innovations
that receive venture capital funding, debt
financing, and shelf space and distribution, "
Ms. Cadena said. " Yet there are
systemic barriers that can isolate underrepresented
groups from these opportunities.
This is juxtaposed against a backdrop
of rising multiculturalism in America. "
The country is diversifying more
quickly than predicted. Four out of 10
Americans identify with a race or ethnic
group other than white, according to
census data, signaling an unprecedented
decline in the nation's white population.
Yet, as pointed out during a presentation
Food Business News
33

Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021

Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 1
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 2
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 3
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 4
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 5
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 6
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 7
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 8
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 9
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 10
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 11
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 12
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 13
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 14
Food Entrepreneur - October 12, 2021 - 15
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https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/food-entrepreneur-august-17-2021
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