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Red White and Blue: UNH's Own Salsa and Chips

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
November 7, 2007


Know what’s better than Better Than Fred’s salsa? The university’s private label Better Than Fred’s salsa whose sales will add money to UNH athletic scholarships.

That’s right, UNH now has its own mild, medium and muy caliente salsa, made right here in New Hampshire by Better Than Fred’s owner Richard Leiter who approached the university earlier this year about partnering to sell his product.

Leiter got the idea after hearing of a similar program at UCONN where salsa and chips were sold in retail locations with a percentage of each sale going to the athletic department. The Derry businessman figured if it worked there, why not at UNH?

Why not, indeed, the folks at UNH athletics said.

Better Than Fred’s salsa, under the name New Hampshire Wildcats Salsa, has replaced the product previously served in UNH dining halls—where they go through up to 100 gallons of salsa a week--and jars of the stuff are available at the Wildcatessen and Durham Market Place.

Since that first meeting in the spring, Leiter has been concocting the UNH recipe and creating a special label and other packaging using the Wildcat colors. White and blue taco chips are also in the works.

“We have been developing copy for the label and packaging that tells about a portion of each sale going to the Wildcat Athletics Council whose mission is to increase scholarship support for student-athletes at UNH,” said Dot Sheehan, senior associate athletic director/external affairs.

A percentage of the proceeds made from the Wildcats salsa will help support 20 varsity men’s and women’s teams at UNH where more than 300 student-athletes currently receive some form of scholarship assistance.

“The Wildcat Athletics Council is thrilled to join Richard Leiter in this partnership. This is a great product and it will help us support student-athlete scholarships,” said Garin Veris, co-director of athletic fundraising.

Better Than Fred’s was born in 1996 by then-high school student Richard Hanson who set out to make a better salsa than his mother was buying at the grocery store. Hanson kept modifying his recipe, offering samples to friends until someone finally declared it was “better than Fred’s.’ That’s when Hanson knew he had a hit—and the perfect name for his sauce.

He and his mother started the company the next year and, in 2002, sold it to Leiter. Since then, Leiter has expanded his line and begun partnering with others to develop products and private recipes. He uses fresh, all natural ingredients and has recently built an organic kitchen. As a result, he’s very interested in making products from UNH’s organic garden, Sheehan said.

“This is a great partnership which we anticipate will be a win-win for Richard’s New Hampshire based family-owned business and the Wildcat Athletics Council. We hope that our ‘Wildcat Nation’ will support this initiative as it will directly benefit student-athletes,” said Brenda Holt-Mullaney, co-director of athletic fundraising.

The Wildcat salsa retails for around $3.99 for a 16-ounce jar. Philbrick’s Fresh Market in Portsmouth has begun selling; local Shaw’s and Hannaford supermarkets will be approached next to take the New Hampshire Wildcats salsa.


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