Chicago - Mar. 31, 2020
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Chicago's Other 78

Like virtually the rest of the world, I have long thought that ketchup had been perfected, and the heavy public burden of Heinz was simply to maintain its integrity.

Its 57 varieties were actually just one, perfected, the universal idea of ketchup, as Malcolm Gladwell once famously posited.

I should've known better to fall for Gladwell, whose litany of errors and outright wrong conclusions has made him rich and famous. He was even wrong about ketchup.

I learned that firsthand because there is at least one ketchup, used in the right circumstances with the right food, that is - and this is hard to say - a better choice than our revered standard Heinz. And that ketchup is made right here in Chicago.

I discovered it a couple of years ago at Logan Bar, in Logan Square, where the spicy (but not too spicy) version is offered for brunch along with your other breakfast-lunch condiments. I like it so much I took a photo of it the other day:

the78ketchup.jpg

Now, like I said, this isn't for everyday use. For example, I would still recommend Heinz on your hot dog. But my newish discovery, though seven years old in real-time, is special. So special I finally looked it up and found this 2017 press release that offers a nice overview (I'm not presuming it's all up to date, but it seems enough so). Here goes - and by the way, I kind of hate mustard, but maybe I'll give them a go on that front, too. Also, I added the links and did some slight copy editing.

* * * * *

The 78 Brand Co. Shakes Up The Condiments Market With All-Natural Ketchup And Mustard Products

The 78 Brand Co. is celebrating its fourth [now seventh] year of business with the launch of two new products. Famous for its all-natural tomato ketchup, which contains 78 percent tomatoes, the company has now entered the all-natural mustard market. In addition to its 78 Red Ketchup and 78 Red Spicy Ketchup the company now offers 78 Yellow Mustard and 78 Yellow Spicy Mustard.

78 Red Ketchup is one of the most tomato-rich ketchups available anywhere. All of the rapidly growing company's products are non-GMO and gluten-free and unlike many brands they don't contain high fructose corn syrup.

"We are proud to make products that not only taste great but are better for you," co-founder Patrick Pilewski said. "They're healthier ketchups and mustards. And they are affordable."

Added co-founder Bernard Utrata: "Our unique taste separates us from the herd and shakes up a market that's stayed the same for the past one hundred years. We are reinventing how condiments should be viewed."

The 78 Brand Co. not only insists on using only natural ingredients but also clean production practices. Mostly available in major retailers in the Midwest, its products have a presence in more than 20 states.

With a background in food service, food production, brand development and marketing, Pilewski and Utrata literally began building their business from the trunk of their car selling ketchup to restaurants in the Chicago area. The original 78 Red made its national debut at the National Restaurant Association show in May 2013. It was an instant hit.

"There was a great response from restaurant operators and chefs, and it was confirmation that we'd developed something special," Utrata said.

Added Pilewski: "We are two driven entrepreneurs who pride ourselves on being unique and creative in life and in business, and are very passionate about healthy eating and healthy living. We are what we eat."

As The 78 Brand Co. continues to grow, the two founders say they're determined to develop more innovative products for the condiments market.

Stores that already carry 78 Brand products include HyVee, Roundy's, Jewel Osco, Dierbergs Markets, Pick 'N' Save, Remke Markets, Pete's Market, Mariano's, and many other independent retailers in the Midwest region.

* * * * *

Just for full disclosure, I'm pro-GMO. That part doesn't matter to me. And I don't need "all-natural" flavors. We are stardust. Plus, nature kills. But I appreciate the intention.

Anyway, here's their website.

And remember, they came before these jokers, who undoubtedly have terrible taste.

-

Comments welcome.



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Posted on March 9, 2020


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