Sun | Dec 11, 2016

Watch out, tomato, pumpkin ketchup is here

Published:Thursday | August 28, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Who would have thought pumpkin could replace tomato as the main ingredient in ketchup? Spring Vale did, and it's delicious. - Contributed

Move over, tomato, there's a new and exciting flavour in the ketchup aisle - pumpkin!

The latest offering from Spring Vale Enterprises is just another example of the innovation and off-the-wall thinking that has influenced its development of exciting products from local crops. "We have some creative minds. I don't know how to explain ourselves in terms of coming up with these crazy ideas, but they are very far out of the box and I guess pumpkin was just the right step. And I must tell you, it is delicious ... ," gushed marketing officer Shavanique McKenzie to Food.

She explained that this crazy idea came out of research which found that during World War II, a ripe banana ketchup was developed, as result of the shortage of tomato. But this idea did not appeal to the geniuses at Spring Vale Enterprises.

OUT OF THE BOX

"Then we started thinking about what we could use here in Jamaica, and that's how the pumpkin ketchup kind of floated about, but as I said, we just like to go out of the box," McKenzie explained.

Crazy, indeed. At least, that's the general reaction from the public when they first hear about pumpkin ketchup. "Initially, they are like, 'What do you do with it? Pumpkin? We don't get it'. So it's always a look of shock or a look of I'm not sure about that.' But when they try it, then you can see a look of confusion, and then they say, 'But this tastes good!' We've never received a negative response on the pumpkin ketchup - never!"

This was the reaction at Expo Jamaica in June when the company introduced the pumpkin condiment to the public on the second day, and patrons just couldn't get enough, McKenzie vividly recalls.

"I think it was close to 80 cases (of 8-oz bottles) and we came back with about five cases. It was crazy, and as soon as we hit the shelves with it the week after, people just took them off the shelves."

With the pumpkin ketchup now available in most leading supermarkets locally, Spring Vale Enterprises is looking to make it available to the Jamaican diaspora in the near future. In the meantime, the company, which sources most of its raw material from St Mary, Portland, and St Thomas, is assuring Jamaican farmers that it remains committed to ensuring that locals can eat Jamaican, even when the crop is out of season.