New Orleans Food Startup Wins National Innovation Award For New Peanut Butter Alternative


NEW ORLEANS — Beyond the Equator, a retail food brand launched in New Orleans last year, has earned a Best New Product sofi™ Award from the Specialty Food Association for its innovative 5 Seed Butter, a low sugar, allergen-friendly peanut butter alternative. A national panel of specialty food experts selected the product from more than 3,000 entries across 39 awards categories.

The 5 Seed Butter, which took top honors in the Nut and Seed Butter category, is unique in that it is made from sunflower, chia, flax, pumpkin, and hemp seeds but is used in the same way as peanut butter. 

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A sofi™ Award is the top achievement in the $127 billion specialty food industry. "sofi" stands for "specialty outstanding food innovation" and the Awards represent the best products in the specialty food industry.

“A sofi means a product, and the people behind it, have arrived,” says Phil Kafarakis, president, Specialty Food Association. “This year’s winners represent a devotion to excellence and innovation in specialty food that continues to fuel our industry, excite consumer and expand retail offerings around the world.” 

Beyond the Equator’s 5 Seed Butter launched in December of 2017 and is now in 30 locations across Southern Louisiana with plans to be in hundreds of stores by the end of the year.

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“Our mission is to bring superfoods to consumers by integrating them into commonly known, every-day use products without sacrificing on flavor,” says Kevin Bratcher, co-founder of Beyond the Equator and a graduate of Tulane’s MBA program. “Nutrition and taste can coexist in the same product and many of our competitors have sacrificed one or the other, something we never plan on doing.”

Every year, sofi products are celebrated and showcased at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York and the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco.

“Winning the sofi Award gives us legitimacy in the eyes of the industry on a national stage, and we are thrilled to be recognized,” says Will Myers, the first employee of Beyond the Equator, New Orleans native, and a recent LSU Alumnus. “We hope that winning this Sofi will have a significant positive impact on our efforts to enter new grocery chains both locally and nationally.”

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For a full list of Beyond the Equator’s store locations, visit

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