Forget Hummus, Bitchin' Sauce Is the Healthy Dip That Goes With Everything

When you think of an iconic all-American dip, you probably think of ketchup. The tomato-based red sauce (which actually originated in China) is a condiment staple across the US. In fact, research suggests around 97 percent of Americans have it in their refrigerators right now. But this is not a story about ketchup. This is a story about another all-American brand that is after the popular red sauce’s crown, and it’s edging closer every day, because, quite frankly, it’s Bitchin’.

San Diego vegan dip brand Bitchin’ Sauce was founded more than 10 years ago by entrepreneur Starr Edwards, who grew up eating delicious raw vegan nut-based dips. In her late teens, she took her versions of those same childhood favorite dips to farmers’ markets, and to put it simply, people could not get enough. Together with her husband L.A., Edwards made more and more of the dips, struggling to keep up with the demand. Customers agreed: the dips were absolutely Bitchin’, and they wanted more.

Fast-forward to now, Bitchin’ Sauce (which, as Edwards once told San Diego Magazine, is “the American Dip,” and plans to “be around hundreds of years from now, like Ketchup”) pulls in around $50 million a year. Its nut-based dips now come in a range of delicious flavors, including Caramelized Onion (described as “tangy and subtly sweet. Bodacious bulbs meets Bitchin’”), Buffalo (which is “savory and traditional”), and Dill Pickle (which is “Bitchin’ and briny”).

Bitchen Sauce StoreBitchin’ Sauce

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To understand more about how Bitchin’ Sauce went from a small-time farmers’ market brand to a big-time vegan dip giant, we spoke with the brand’s public relations project manager, Reiley Martin. We find out all about Bitchin’s journey to dip royalty, and how the brand plans to stay on top with more innovation, more vegan flavors, and just, simply, more Bitchin’ vibes.

VegNews: We know that Bitchin’ Sauce was founded by Starr Edwards back in 2010, but can you tell us a little bit more about the brand’s origin story?

Reiley Martin: It all stemmed from a recipe Starr was tinkering with when she was 16 years old, while she was experimenting with a raw vegan diet. Joined by her husband, L.A., they started small, initially only selling their almond-based dips in the farmers markets in and around San Diego. Folks were going nuts for Bitchin’ Sauce! The two would go on to pioneer an entirely new category of nut-based dips.

VN: Now, that same sauce is sold in more than 17,000 stores around the world! How did Starr and AJ take their signature dips from farmer’s markets to the shelves of global grocery stores?

RM: One farmer’s market became 26 in Southern California, and they kept testing the limits of how much they could sell and were constantly surprised at not having met the ceiling. At one market, they would sell as many as 2500 tubs. They contemplated indoor selling options and looked to grocers, like Whole Foods and Costco, for guidance.

“Our fan reviews say things like ‘Holy moly, this stuff is so good! It is creamy and rich but dairy-free.’”

VN: And the rest, as they say, is history! Bitchin’ Sauce’s dips are available everywhere from the US to Canada to China to Mexico to New Zealand, and you’re still expanding your reach even further. What is the key to this success, do you think?

RM: The brand meets the growing demand for vegan and vegetarian options and appeals to mainstream customers, who are seeking better-for-you, delicious options. It’s also constantly innovating to create new flavors and reach new audiences. Two fan favorites, Dill Pickle & Chipotle Bitchin’ Sauce, are now available in squeeze bottle packaging, which encourages people to use the sauce as a condiment, as well as a dip. Now, all our consumers will be drizzling Bitchin’ Sauce on plant-based burgers, veggie dogs, Bitchin’ bowls, and more! 

VN: Can you tell us about any new exciting flavors you have in the works?

RM: Expanding to new flavor profiles is a crucial form of innovation. Last year, we released two new flavors, Dill Pickle and Hatch, and this year, we’re planning on continuing with flavor development. Think Sriracha, Creamy Garlic, Spicy Miso, Sun-Dried Tomato, and beyond!

Bitchin Sauces

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VN: These days, the environment is just as important as great taste to so many consumers. You’re off to a good start by being vegan-friendly, but how else do you make sure you’re prioritizing sustainability as a brand?

RM: We try to minimize food waste through efficient manufacturing practices. We utilize High-Pressure Processing, for example, to extend the shelf life of sauce. By undergoing a pressure of 87,000 pounds for 180 seconds, this process also eliminates harmful contaminants such as salmonella, listeria, and E. coli from our products. Waste is closely monitored, and efforts are made to keep losses under three percent through efficient ingredient management and sales projections. But if we do make too much product, it’s always donated to our nonprofit pals.

“Bitchin’, by definition, means first-rate or excellent!”

VN: As well as delicious, vegan products, one of the biggest selling points of the Bitchin’ brand is, without a doubt, its personality. How do you make sure this keeps shining through in everything that you do, from products to marketing?

RM: Bitchin’, by definition, means first-rate or excellent! We gauge our marketing efforts through customer satisfaction. Our customers frequently leave detailed feedback on e-commerce sites to share their totally Bitchin’ experiences in the kitchen. One hilarious quote from one of our 5,500 reviews, for example, reads: “I tried Bitchin sauce for the first time the other day and already had to go buy another container. I could put it on a sandal and it would taste delectable. Keep up the good work. Thanks for being awesome.”

Bitchin Sauce and FoodBitchin’ Sauce

VN: Customer connection is so important when it comes to brand success. In what other ways do you connect with the consumers who love your products?

RM: Social media is another avenue for us to connect with our audience and gauge the impact of our efforts. Our celebrity fans, including Jennifer Garner, Kylie Jenner, and the D’Amelio family, have all proudly shared their love for Bitchin’ Sauce with their followers, which proves that Bitchin’ people love Bitchin’ Sauce! But we also prioritize direct engagement with our fans. We attend events and offer samples. Whether it’s Vegan Street Fairs across the country, vegan retreats, music festivals, races, or other Bitchin’ events, we seize every opportunity to introduce our Bitchin’ flavors to new audiences.

Want to know (or taste) more? Find out more about Bitchin’ Sauce and its delicious vegan dips here. 

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