Aihui Ong knows the universal power of food to show that we care. Years ago, reeling from a divorce and burned out from a 12-year career as a financial software engineer, Ong embarked on a backpacking trip that took her to 20 countries over 12 months. One of her biggest takeaways from her adventures was that “food is the common denominator in terms of showing our love, regardless of the culture or ethnicity,” she says.
Upon Ong’s return, a friend revealed that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. “Being an engineer, I’m not good at words,” Ong says. “I told her, ‘I’ll cook for you because I only know how to show love with food.’” That was the genesis of Love With Food, the snack-box subscription company Ong founded in 2012.
With prices starting at $7.99 per month, the L.A.-based company ships monthly boxes designed, in Ong’s words, to “surprise and delight.” Products follow Whole Foods’ nutrition guidelines, meaning they are organic or natural and free of artificial ingredients, trans fats, hydrogenated oils and high-fructose corn syrup. “If we can’t pronounce the ingredients, we won’t put it in the box,” she says.
On the surprise-and-delight side, the company specializes in the unique and hard to find. “Recently, I was at a food show and we saw mushroom snacks,” Ong says. “I’ve never seen that. I knew they had to be in the box. They were so good!” The company also tries not to repeat products within six months. But if you fall in love with something, fear not. An online snack shop lets you get your fix any time.
Need another reason to fall in love with Love With Food? Check out its charitable giving. Ong initially planned a program devoted to ending world hunger, but then discovered the extent of the need here at home. “It was alarming to find out that hunger is a big problem in America, but nobody talks about it,” she says, adding that one in six children in the U.S. suffers from hunger every day.
For every Love With Food box purchased, the company donates the cost of one meal to Feeding America, a U.S. hunger-relief organization that supports food banks across the country, including the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. That means when you’re sharing snack love with your family, you’re sharing with others as well. And if you have holiday sharing in mind, gift subscriptions are available.
Learn more at lovewithfood.com.