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Bitchin Sauce is everywhere now

San Diego farmers market spread in 7000+ stores nationwide

Several flavors of Bitchin Sauce, made in San Diego, available nationwide.
Several flavors of Bitchin Sauce, made in San Diego, available nationwide.

About ten years ago, young mom and aspiring personal chef Starr Edwards started bringing her food samples to farmers markets in Leucadia and San Marcos, hoping to drum up business.

The Bitchin name took off, and though Starr Edwards allows the SoCal slang probably bemuses a few folks around the East Coast and Midwest, it doesn’t seem to have hindered sales.

Among her samples was a creamy, almond based sauce she’d come up as a 16- year-old trying to make her vegan diet more appealing. She blended raw almonds with garlic, lemon, tamari, grapeseed oil, and nutritional yeast. At home, she liked to cook with it, use it as a salad dressing, or to spruce up a bowl of beans and rice. But the easiest way to share with farmers market customers was to serve it with tortilla chips. “When we went to the farmers market, that was the first time it was used as a dip,” Edwards recalls.

She didn’t get any work as a personal chef, but she got a lot of people clamoring for that dip. Within six months, she was selling it at 25 farmers markets around Southern California. By the end of that first year, she’d sold about 100,000 tubs of the addictive almond dip she began to market as Bitchin Sauce.

And this year, the company she built around Bitchin Sauce expects to sell somewhere in the range of nine million tubs. Not just in San Diego, but in nearly 7,500 stores nationwide, not just natural food stores, but large chains including Whole Foods, Costco, Albertsons, Vons, Safeway, 7/11, Target, and as of this month, Sprouts. Meanwhile, food bloggers around the country have spent hours developing copycat recipes to share with their readers.

For most of the 20-teens, Bitchin Sauce was a weekly fixture of San Diego farmers markets, emerging as one of the community’s greatest success stories.

Starr Edwards and husband and co-founder L.A. Edwards selling Bitchin Sauce at a local farmers market.

Though it bears a passing resemblance to hummus, the less pasty, almond-based sauce doesn’t really belong to any existing condiment tradition. So Edwards had to give it a name. She wanted to convey wholesome branding, that also reflected her beachy, SoCal roots.

“I was trying to find a word that could communicate that,” she tells me. “I googled awesome sauce, but it was taken.” Instead, the Bitchin name took off, and though Edwards allows the SoCal slang probably bemuses a few folks around the East Coast and Midwest, it doesn’t seem to have hindered sales.

The original, addictive, savory flavor has expanded to an entire product line, including sweet and savory options ranging from chipotle, pesto, and cilantro chili to chocolate and salted caramel. A line made with organic almonds includes spinach artichoke and Buffalo sauce. A “Snacker” line packages the stuff with tortilla chips or carrots for single serve dipping.

A lot of the people who buy Bitchin Sauce probably don’t care that it’s vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and kosher. And they probably don’t give much notice that it’s made in Carlsbad. But around here, we can appreciate the homegrown business, launched by a 21-year-old, now operates with 77 employees, with on-site child care (“Bitchin Kids”), and the potential to make Bitchin Sauce a household name along the lines of A1 Sauce or Ranch Dressing.

“Our end goal,” says Edwards, “would be to have a trademark for Bitchin Sauce, so you just always know” that’s that almond dip from Southern California!

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Several flavors of Bitchin Sauce, made in San Diego, available nationwide.
Several flavors of Bitchin Sauce, made in San Diego, available nationwide.

About ten years ago, young mom and aspiring personal chef Starr Edwards started bringing her food samples to farmers markets in Leucadia and San Marcos, hoping to drum up business.

The Bitchin name took off, and though Starr Edwards allows the SoCal slang probably bemuses a few folks around the East Coast and Midwest, it doesn’t seem to have hindered sales.

Among her samples was a creamy, almond based sauce she’d come up as a 16- year-old trying to make her vegan diet more appealing. She blended raw almonds with garlic, lemon, tamari, grapeseed oil, and nutritional yeast. At home, she liked to cook with it, use it as a salad dressing, or to spruce up a bowl of beans and rice. But the easiest way to share with farmers market customers was to serve it with tortilla chips. “When we went to the farmers market, that was the first time it was used as a dip,” Edwards recalls.

She didn’t get any work as a personal chef, but she got a lot of people clamoring for that dip. Within six months, she was selling it at 25 farmers markets around Southern California. By the end of that first year, she’d sold about 100,000 tubs of the addictive almond dip she began to market as Bitchin Sauce.

And this year, the company she built around Bitchin Sauce expects to sell somewhere in the range of nine million tubs. Not just in San Diego, but in nearly 7,500 stores nationwide, not just natural food stores, but large chains including Whole Foods, Costco, Albertsons, Vons, Safeway, 7/11, Target, and as of this month, Sprouts. Meanwhile, food bloggers around the country have spent hours developing copycat recipes to share with their readers.

For most of the 20-teens, Bitchin Sauce was a weekly fixture of San Diego farmers markets, emerging as one of the community’s greatest success stories.

Starr Edwards and husband and co-founder L.A. Edwards selling Bitchin Sauce at a local farmers market.

Though it bears a passing resemblance to hummus, the less pasty, almond-based sauce doesn’t really belong to any existing condiment tradition. So Edwards had to give it a name. She wanted to convey wholesome branding, that also reflected her beachy, SoCal roots.

“I was trying to find a word that could communicate that,” she tells me. “I googled awesome sauce, but it was taken.” Instead, the Bitchin name took off, and though Edwards allows the SoCal slang probably bemuses a few folks around the East Coast and Midwest, it doesn’t seem to have hindered sales.

The original, addictive, savory flavor has expanded to an entire product line, including sweet and savory options ranging from chipotle, pesto, and cilantro chili to chocolate and salted caramel. A line made with organic almonds includes spinach artichoke and Buffalo sauce. A “Snacker” line packages the stuff with tortilla chips or carrots for single serve dipping.

A lot of the people who buy Bitchin Sauce probably don’t care that it’s vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and kosher. And they probably don’t give much notice that it’s made in Carlsbad. But around here, we can appreciate the homegrown business, launched by a 21-year-old, now operates with 77 employees, with on-site child care (“Bitchin Kids”), and the potential to make Bitchin Sauce a household name along the lines of A1 Sauce or Ranch Dressing.

“Our end goal,” says Edwards, “would be to have a trademark for Bitchin Sauce, so you just always know” that’s that almond dip from Southern California!

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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