Senior Editor, UK | Southsea, United Kingdom | Contactable via charlotte@livekindly.com

Charlotte has an upper second class honors in History from Oxford Brookes University and a postgraduate certificate in Cultural Heritage from Winchester University. She loves music, travel, and animals. Charlotte resides on the South coast of the UK.

Plant-based fruit jerky brand, Watermelon Road, has come top at the NOSH Live Pitch Slam contest in New York, achieving both recognition and a $10,000 package prize.

NOSH Live is a 2-day biannual business conference for the natural food industry, allowing those working in the industry an opportunity to network and listen to influential speakers and experts, as well as taste up and coming products. The Pitch Slam contest at the event featured several natural startup companies, “vying for attention, recognition, and a valuable Grand Prize.” 

Watermelon Road scooped first place in volume 4 of the contest. “There is a tremendous amount of work to do,” said Watermelon Road CEO, Jamie Melzer. “But what I see as our brand and our growth message is getting through to people.” 

Founded in 2017, Watermelon Road’s vegan, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly jerky is currently available in 40 stores across New York. Apple Pie, Watermelon Lemonade, and Pineapple Mojito are the three flavors currently on offer from the brand. Healthy snacking is important to Melzer. After growing up on processed foods, and seeing family and friends diagnosed with various autoimmune diseases, the CEO knew what she was putting into her body had to change.

“Five years ago I discovered that avoiding processed foods had a dramatic impact on my husband’s ankylosing spondylitis symptoms,” Melzer states on the Watermelon Road website. “We radically changed our family’s diet, removing processed foods and replacing them with clean, whole, and recognizable ingredients. Clean eating only became a greater focus when I became a mom. I wanted to ensure that the snacks I was giving my family were wholesome and nutritious but also fun to eat.” 

“Watermelon Road was born out of love of wholesome food, fresh flavors, and providing family and friends with better snack options that are as nutritious as they are delicious,” she adds. “Each small batch is prepared by hand, from our family to yours.”

Across the Pitch Slam, judges noticed plenty of plant-based brands emerging, as well as startups led by women. Fellow competitors Bohana, Sarah’s Snacks and Simply Fuel are all led by female entrepreneurs, just like Watermelon Road.


Image Credit: Watermelon Road