Must Have Munchies

Two friends turned a holiday baking tradition into a hit gourmet snack lineup


Photo courtesy of Must Have Munchies

Gretchen Japhet and Susan Taliaferro had a longstanding tradition of giving home-baked snack crackers and trail mixes as fun holiday gifts. The munchies were legendary among friends and family, but a child’s 2017 proclamation—”You guys should go into business!”—inspired the duo to up the ante. 

“We looked at one another and said, ‘You know, why not?’” says Japhet, an educational consultant by profession. 

The friends dove in headfirst. They researched packaging logistics, designed labels, built a website, and transformed Japhet’s home kitchen into a certified production area. They tested recipes and developed a five-flavor fleet of staples like garlic and herb, picante, and cinnamon twist. Sending samples to gourmet markets established a near-immediate following. Now, Must Have Munchies can be found at nine retailers across five states—including Richmond’s Libbie Market, Idle Hands Bakery, and Yellow Umbrella, as well as Cross Brothers Grocery in Ashland.  MustHaveMunchies.com


This article originally appeared in the Best of Virginia 2024 issue.

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