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Hector Saldivar, founder and chief executive officer of Tia Lupita Foods, Los Angeles, moved to the United States from his native Monterrey, Mexico, more than a decade ago, and his mother would always send him care packages, as most mothers do, he pointed out. But his care packages were filled with her hot sauce, something he hadn’t found a suitable replacement for in the US. After encouraging feedback from friends and armed with the knowledge from his career in the food industry, Mr. Saldivar started Tia Lupita Foods to start manufacturing and selling his mother’s hot sauce. 

Tia Lupita Foods is centered on offering better-for-you, simple and sustainable Mexican-inspired foods. The leap to tortillas and upcycled ingredients was not a far one to make. In this episode of Since Sliced Bread, Mr. Saldivar shares how Tia Lupita Foods expanded into cactus and corn tortillas and then a grain-free tortilla showcasing upcycled okara flour.

“I’m Mexican. I love tacos, but I’m always on a diet,” he said. “Tacos and diet should never be in the same sentence. … Cactus tortillas are a guiltless way of eating tacos.” 

Not only did Mr. Saldivar want to create Mexican-inspired foods that people could feel good about eating, he also wanted to do his part to improve the planet. 

“When I say better-for-you, I don’t just mean better for you, but also better for the planet,” he said. 

That mission led him to partner with Renewal Mill to find a way to incorporate upcycled okara flour into his cactus tortillas to create a grain-based tortilla packed with fiber. But this mission wasn’t without its challenges: both on the formulating side and marketing. 

Listen to this episode of Since Sliced Bread to learn more about upcycled ingredients and how Tia Lupita Foods is trying to take them mainstream.

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