For USC graduate student Antoinette Muñoz, finding her favorite hot sauce in the U.S. was tough. So she decided to make her own.
Her company, Tradición Peruana, is a homage to Muñoz’s hometown flavors.
The two distinct hot sauces are made from two varieties of Peruvian chili peppers. Her vegan hot sauce is made with “rocoto” (roh-COH-toh) pepper, which looks like a bell pepper in shape, but packs a much more powerful punch. Her other hot sauce is made with yellow ‘aji’ (ah-HEE) pepper and holds a consistency similar to a creamier spicy mayo -- even though it looks like mustard. Her bottled brand is currently only sold online through her website.
Muñoz was born and raised in Lima, Peru. She came to study Social Entrepreneurship at USC’s Marshall School of Business to further her hot sauce brand and help her community back home. Tradición Peruana gives 15% of its profit back to the pepper growers in Peru to improve their agriculture technology and standard of living, Muñoz said. On her blog, she states that many of Peru’s agricultural communities, especially pepper farmers, lack resources and experience extreme poverty. Her plan is to invest in irrigation technology and teach the farmers a Quechua irrigation technique that could help them triple their annual harvest.
Tradición Peruana is in its early stages of distribution, but Muñoz hopes her nostalgic flavor becomes an American staple.