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This Ph.D. Student Created A Healthier Alternative To Food Condiments

This Ph.D. Student Created A Healthier Alternative To Food Condiments


Photo credit: Freeman Fotographics

How many times have you eaten something at a family gathering and enjoyed it so much that you thought to yourself, "folks should be selling this in stores!" Well Michael Lloyd, a Ph.D. student in the food science department at NC State, made this sentiment a reality for his family. After years of enjoying his grandfather’s one of a kind sauces and how miraculously they made his food taste better than everyone else’s, Lloyd set out on a journey rooted in innocent enjoyment and supplemented by his study of food science to create a unique condiment line that he calls "Num Num Sauce."

While completing his Master’s degree in biomedical sciences, Lloyd sat down with his grandfather and learn the processes behind the family sauce recipe that he’d grown to love. Upon graduation, he began experimenting with sauce recipes trying to incorporate all that his grandfather had shared and informed by his science studies. He eventually landed a job in the pharmaceutical industry by day, crafted his one of a kind sauces at night, and began to sell them on the weekends laying the foundation for what would become his very own sauce line.

Lloyd had some help taking his leap of faith to pursue his sauce business full-time when he was laid off. As luck would have it, two weeks before being laid off, Lloyd introduced his sauces to Whole Foods Market representatives at The Goodness Grows NC marketing program. Six months later, Num Num Sauce made it to Whole Foods Market shelves. 

“Since I was taking those (food science) classes while growing the business, I was able to understand more about what consumers want and what they don't want," Lloyd said. He has devised technology that enables him to activate flavor profiles in food which also allows him to use less sodium and fat additives without losing the rich flavors that are often associated with said items but can be particularly unhealthy.

While some refer to his sauces as barbecue sauce, he insists that they are much more than that. "Because it's vegan and it’s good on veggies and salad and stuff. People may call it barbecue sauce because they don’t have anything to compare it to. What we’ve done is created a whole new class of condiment," Lloyd shared.

There are currently four flavors of Num Num Sauce available at Whole Foods and Fresh Markets throughout the southeast. The sauce is also available online at