If you’re concerned about how we eat, what we eat and who is developing the delectables we devour, whether sweet, savory or in between, relax, the state of ingredients is in good hands. It’s a new, young adventurous world out there and the newest ingredient in today’s food products is the story behind the brand. Artisan purveyors and small batch manufacturers have figured out ingredients, story and packaging are the three keys to opening future doors. Take Michael Sasso of the Sasso Candy Company. Sweet company. The president who boasts his new candy bar is “Candy for Grownups” developed the bar in his Los Gatos, California kitchen. The bar, delicious. Chef Abby Freethy set out in 2005 to create a company that specialized in healthy alternatives to common pantry staples. Northwoods Gourmet Girl started with country ketchup produced in Freethy’s own home kitchen, and has expanded to a product line of over 18 items, including relishes, jams, preserves and desert sauces. “I grew up in a home where the kitchen was constantly filled with the smell of my Ukranian grandmother’s scratch cooking, sheltered from the processed foods that still remain omnipresent in today’s society,” says Freethy. “Northwoods Gourmet Girl is my attempt to bring quality of life back into the kitchen.” Freethy has developed a caramelized onion balsamic relish that was sampled on a walnut. The combination would make any salad rise to the top of favorite choices. The show was not without its jerks. Daniel Fogelson and Jordan Barrocas started Three Jerks Jerky less than a year ago and the filet mignon beef jerky was better than some grilled rib-eyes I have had lately. It’s some of the tenderest jerky on the market, tough to accomplish, but the Three Jerks duo have pulled it off. Available in three distinct flavors Three Jerks is packaged in a butcher paper styled package that is as inviting to the eye as the jerky is to the palate. Fogelson and Barrocas are, according to a crowd funding campaign the pair ran last summer, “friends, occasional jerks and passionate foodies.” “We spent a full year experimenting with various cuts of meat and different flavors in pursuit of this holy grail of a snack. The result is an aristocrat amongst plebeians,” is their claim and the work paid off. The product shouts quality. Young, bright foodtrepreneurs are leading the charge to change the grocer’s shelves. With great stories, quality ingredients, a bit of edginess in flavor profiles and brand packaging, the future of food looks bright.