• Beyond Meat

  • AP File Photo

  • Exo

  • Goldbely

Every year, hundreds, if not thousands, of new companies enter the crowded food and drink space. To stand out from the pack, these companies need to be unique, well-run, and well-funded, disrupt the status quo, and do their part to truly make a difference. We’ve tracked down eight companies that meet all these criteria, and more.

What makes a food company truly great? In short, it all comes down to the mission. Selling healthy snacks is one thing, but it’s easy to make a snack healthy. What’s not easy is to open a successful chain that sells all-natural and organic lunchtime fare. In the same vein, delivering food is one thing, but delivering signature dishes from some of the country’s most legendary restaurants, or pre-made meals prepared by classically trained chefs, is a whole other ballgame.

America’s best new food companies fall under many umbrellas. There are technology companies, companies that have invented entirely new foods using nothing but creativity and scientific knowhow, food markets, restaurants, and delivery services. They’re all changing the food playing field as we know it, providing great services, and making a big difference.

All of these companies have been receiving ample attention via word of mouth, but some have been getting added recognition from publications like Fast Company. These companies aren’t following the pack; they’re truly innovative, creating entirely new markets in some cases and shaking up the status quo in others. What does the future of food look like? You’ll find it right here.

  • 1. Beyond Meat

    Beyond Meat

    For vegetarians, finding a suitable meat substitute that actually looks, tastes, and feels like meat has always been a futile effort. Until now. Beyond Meat hails its creation as “meat from plants,” and they really mean it. Instead of just putting vegetable protein in a mold and calling it a day (or a burger), they’ve went looking for the same building blocks that meat contains — amino acids, lipids, fats, oils, water, and protein — and found them all in plant-based sources. The resulting product is uncannily meat-like, but Beyond Meat’s goal goes far beyond that: they want to improve human health, positively impact climate change, address global resource restraints, and advance animal welfare.

  • 2. Eataly

    AP File Photo

    Founded in Turin in 2007 as a hub for Italian ingredients and dining, Eataly opened its first American outpost in 2010 in New York City in partnereship with none other than Mario Batali and Joe and Lidia Bastianich. Italian cuisine in the city hasn’t been the same since. The sprawling, 50,000-square-foot space is a hive of activity, housing everything from a wine bar to food counters, a full-service meat-centric restaurant, a butcher shop, a cheesemonger, a fish store, a pizzeria, a bread bakery, a caffè and gelateria, a wine shop, and a grocery store selling fresh-made and dried pastas, cured meats, fresh vegetables, and Italian imports.

  • 3. Exo

    Exo

    Would you eat a cricket? How about if it could change the world? Crickets, which are ground into a flour to create Exo’s protein bars, are a complete protein source (containing all the essential amino acids), with twice as much iron as spinach and nearly three times as much protein as chicken. They produce 100 times less greenhouse gas than cattle and require only one gallon of water per pound to raise (as opposed to 2,000 gallons for cattle). A hundred pounds of feed yields 60 pounds of cricket protein, but only five pounds of beef protein. These bars, which come in flavors like peanut butter and jelly, apple cinnamon, and cocoa nut, contain no gluten, grain, soy, dairy, or refined sugars, and were designed by a Michelin-starred chef

  • 4. Goldbely

    Goldbely

    Once upon a time, if you wanted that cult-favorite food, you were forced to actually go to the physical restaurant and order it. Now you can bring the restaurant right to you, no matter where you are.  What happens if you find yourself in San Francisco, but are desperate for a half-smoke from Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington, D.C.? Or if you find yourself in Dallas, but want to host a dinner party with pastrami from Katz’s in New York? Until recently, you’d be out of luck. But Goldbely is partnering with some of the country’s leading restaurants to help them ship their flagship food items anywhere.

    Still hungry? Check out more of the best new food companies.

    More from The Daily Meal

    101 Best Wineries in America for 2015

    8 Food Companies to Watch

    The 35 Best Sandwich Shops in America

    These Cocktails Will Have You Tipsy in 2 Sips