CHICAGO – Paul Lehman and Carl Starkey, co-founders of AWSM Sauce, West Chester, Pa., love condiments but hate the plastic containers they are packaged in. The two set out to rethink the way sauces and condiments are produced and distributed. Their patent-pending “powder-to-pour” technology is all about “just adding water and shake.”

The company’s name is an acronym for “avoid waste and season meaningfully,” said Mr. Lehman. The company’s mission is to sauce responsibly.

“We are the world’s first guilt-free sauce brand,” Mr. Lehman said. “AWSM Sauce delivers the best sweet and savory condiment ingredients right to your door for a convenient and eco-conscious way to enjoy your favorite meals. At AWSM Sauce, we prioritize three things: taste, sustainability and satisfaction. With a keen focus on these key values, we’ve successfully revolutionized the food industry while cutting down on cumbersome kitchen clutter.”

It took nine months from the initial idea to the first manufactured product. 

“We had so much fun developing our initial sauces and realizing just what was possible when creating them in powdered form,” Mr. Starkey said. “It took a few months of initial research and development in the kitchen for us to prove that we could create a delicious ketchup that would blow people’s minds when they tried it. Once we created our ketchup, we knew that we could make an amazing barbecue and hot sauce that would rival anything on the shelf today.”

Mr. Lehman added, “By purchasing our sauce powder packets and replacing those single-use plastics in your fridge, you reduce the amount of plastic used per sauce bottle by 95%. Further, companies spend millions of dollars to transport water from place to place so they can make their sauces and condiments. The trucks and ships used to do this pollute the environment. Our powder packets cut out this step.” 

The product comes in three varieties: Chesapeake Fire Sauce, Classic Ketchup and Honey Hickory BBQ. A 1.8-oz packet gets shaken with one-third cup water. Starter kits sell for $22.50 and include two jars (for making the sauces) along with two three-packet boxes of your choice of sauces. Additional three packs are $6. Other bundles are available. 

“Our sauces eradicate the No. 1 reason for condiment waste,” Mr. Starkey said. “That is, they are not used in time. This widespread wastefulness contributes to both single-use plastic accumulation and significant food waste.

“Once you mix the powders with water to create the AWSM sauce, the condiment is good for at least two months when refrigerated. The sauces are vinegar based, giving them an outstanding shelf-life, so the reality is that they will last for a way longer time than two months.”

The company continues to innovate. This fall, it will debut yellow mustard, and shortly after, a Japanese barbecue sauce will hit the market. 

“I can't say too much more, but our food science team is working on an AWSM ranch dipping sauce that we hope to finalize by early 2023,” Mr. Lehmann said.