Over the years, "Shark Tank" has seen plenty of condiment companies, from Sienna Sauce wing slathers to Slice of Sauce solidified ketchup. As part of season 15, the "Shark Tank" investors have an opportunity to sink their teeth into I Love Chamoy's sugar-free Mexican sauces.
Entrepreneur Annie Leal created I Love Chamoy in 2021 after she grew frustrated with trying to find a sugar-free, sweet-but-spicy treat for her diabetic father. She landed on chamoy, a Mexican sauce traditionally made from salted and dehydrated apricots, mangoes, or plums, as well as chili powder, salt, sugar, and a dash of citrus.
In 2022, Leal and I Love Chamoy won H-E-B's Quest for Texas Best competition, earning $25k cash and product placement at H-E-B. Of course, running a small business isn't easy, even with so much support early on, so Leal brought I Love Chamoy to the tank in hopes of finding guidance and financial investment.
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I Love Chamoy's Flavor Took A Lot Of Work To Nail Down
Although chamoy is a Mexican staple, the real deal isn't exactly diabetic-friendly. Making a simple omission of sugar, however, changes the entire feel of the condiment. As such, Annie Leal tried countless different versions of a sugar-free chamoy sauce before she found the right combination of ingredients.
Leal went so far as to hire a food scientist, working with them to test a handful of different natural sweeteners. Ultimately, they landed on using monk fruit sweetener, which they felt best complemented the other ingredients in the chamoy -- lime powder, hibiscus powder, chili peppers, citric acid, sodium benzoate, salt, and xanthan gum.
Interestingly, the inclusion of hibiscus powder also solved Leal's problem of wanting to use natural coloring as opposed to artificial coloring in her sauces. Hibiscus powder gives foods a deep red color, as well as a tangy taste not unlike cranberries -- a win-win for I Love Chamoy.
TikTok Fell In Love With I Love Chamoy Overnight
Armed with a background in content creation and social media production, Annie Leal took her fledgling company to TikTok. There, she racked up over 420,000 followers, many of them celebrating I Love Chamoy's sugar-free recipe. Others requested versions of the sauce that would meet additional dietary restrictions like low sodium, though Leal did reveal that I Love Chamoy already contains 40-80% less sodium than many traditional chamoy sauce recipes.
She soon found her product featured on Rihanna's Fenty Beauty page, and with increased customer demand, Leal moved I Love Chamoy into a warehouse space in October 2023. The company's newest flavor, Chili Mango, received so many orders that even a batch of 20,000 bottles and a team of family members couldn't keep up. Makes a whole lot of sense that Leal would want a shark on her side to help streamline the production and shipping processes. In the meantime, I Love Chamoy fans rate the original sauce 4.8 stars and can't wait to get their hands on the next flavor -- Pickle chamoy.
How Do Customers Use I Love Chamoy?
As you can imagine, chamoy sauce is extremely versatile. After all, it's tangy, sweet, salty, and spicy, so it can complement just about any food or drink. The official website for I Love Chamoy recommends using its sauce on pizza, chips, fruits, veggies, and even candy, but founder Annie Leal also regularly shares her personal favorites on social media.
Leal enjoys wrapping a mango popsicle in chamoy sauce and Fruit Roll-Ups, topping it off with a generous sprinkling of tajin seasoning and a splash of lime juice. She also favors mixing chunks of watermelon with I Love Chamoy sauce, lime juice, and tajin to create a snack guaranteed to be a party in your mouth. Other snacks involve adding chamoy to Korean potato-and-cheese hot dogs, juice bar ice cream, and freeze-dried dragon fruit. Truly, the possibilities are endless, but the important question is whether the sharks agree.
Read the original article on Mashed.