Ketchup Please LLC
Location: Delafield Founders: Evan Lampsa and Reed Kastner-Lang Founded: 2019 Product: Certified organic, no-sugar-added ketchup Goal: Increase production, expand to more grocery chains and bolster marketing efforts Experience: Lampsa and Kastner-Lang both attended Kettle Moraine High School, where they competed in Future Business Leaders of America.
The origin story of Delafield-based Ketchup Please LLC traces back to two moments in Evan Lampsa’s life – one profound and one more mundane.
In 2015, Lampsa underwent open-heart surgery to fix a congenital heart defect, an experience that opened his eyes to the dietary constraints of other pediatric patients and provided the seed of inspiration to create healthier food options.[caption id="attachment_538081" align="alignright" width="300"] Lampsa[/caption]
Three years later, Lampsa, then a sophomore at Kettle Moraine High School, asked his dad to “pass the ketchup, please” during a meal. It sounded like a catchy name for a ketchup brand.
“Everyone would say ‘Ketchup Please, please,’ every time they asked for it,” Lampsa said.
The idea stuck, and he began experimenting with recipes for a healthier, no-sugar-added yet still sweet variation of the condiment. Fellow Kettle Moraine student Reed Kastner-Lang caught wind of Lampsa’s entrepreneurial ambitions.
“Reed gave me a call and said, ‘Hey, I heard you’re interested in starting a ketchup business,’” Lampsa said. “And the rest, as they say, is history.”
The pair went on to test 88 batches of ketchup blends, distributing samples in 2-ounce cups at school with a link to an online survey for their peers to rate each iteration according to its spice, tang, sweetness and saltiness.
They finally landed on a winning recipe, with 95% of those surveyed rating each category perfect.
The pair went on to receive their license from the state and started producing the ketchup at The Petit Chef commercial kitchen in Dousman. They received USDA organic certification on July 19, 2019, and the following day netted over $900 at the Delafield Farmers Market.
“People really liked the taste and so we knew that we had something,” Kastner-Lang said.
The business has since expanded beyond farmers markets, and Ketchup Please is now in 50 brick-and-mortar locations, including Sendik’s Food Market.
“I just walk in with a bottle and say ‘Hey, I’ve got the best ketchup in the world, I think you should carry it,’ and they usually buy it on the spot,” Kastner-Lang said.
Their plan is to sell Ketchup Please on Amazon by the end of this year and expand into more grocery chains from there.
Both believe the business has legs.
“We get so many good reviews and that just grows with the more people we impact, either online, at farmers markets, at events. People say ‘this is amazing,’” Lampsa said. “… Our biggest thing is ‘ketchup without compromise.’ You’re not compromising good taste for your diet.”
The goal now is to ensure more people know about it with the help of targeted marketing efforts.
“We want everyone in Wisconsin to know about Ketchup Please,” Kastner-Lang said.