Scott Norton and Mark Ramadan, fellow students at Brown University in 2008, took their entrepreneurship cue from a think piece in The New Yorker. Writer Malcolm Gladwell posited that it was near impossible for any ketchup company to compete with the power of Heinz. Really, think about it: Which ketchup do you keep on hand for hamburgers and french fries?
First things first, though: Not only did Norton and Ramadan obviously need to compete on a flavor level, but they needed a standout brand and bottle design to make their ketchup pop in a grocery store lineup. Thus came the wide-mouthed jar –“scoopable” and not just shakable (no more screaming, “Hit the 57 on your wrist!”). Then, a fictional character named Sir Kensington, who hails from Great Britain and possesses rather refined taste. Finally, a genius recipe, calibrated to highlight the tart-juicy-umami flavor of crushed, vine-ripened pear tomatoes, without the help of a ton of added sweetener (one serving has just 2 grams of sugar!).
Sir Kensington’s debuted their ketchup in 2010 at our favorite industry trade show: the annual Fancy Foods Show in New York City. In its first year, the company sold 10,000 jars – and now boasts huge accounts with big grocery stores and famous restaurant companies, buying up their other indie condiments like mayonnaise and mustard.
We get to watch so many indie makers turn their hyper-specific foodie passions into successful entrepreneurship, so we’re inspired by these guys doing things the other way around! It just goes to show that a simple “Challenge accepted!” can really pay off.