At the Podium
Along with his co-founder Scott Norton, Mark Ramadan launched one of the most successful start ups of the decade. Sir Kensington’s is a food innovation company whose mission is to bring integrity and charm to ordinary and overlooked food. In just eight years, Ramadan has taken Sir Kensington’s and turned it into a major rival of one of the world’s most recognizable brands. In Bloomberg’s words, “Sir Kensington’s has changed the makeup of your kitchen cabinet.”
From humble beginnings in his Brown University dorm room, Ramadan combined his passion for entrepreneurship and the culinary arts and saw an opportunity to develop a new ketchup in the mold of what he calls “Food 2.0”— combining high-integrity ingredients and a better taste, without sacrifice. Above all, it was different from the ground up, and it had to be to succeed in the multi-billion dollar monopolistic ketchup industry, unchanged in decades. In the company’s first year alone, Sir Kensington’s sold 10,000 jars and became the first premium ketchup to ever replace Heinz in restaurants in the United States. As the years passed, their business continued to grow exponentially with an ever-increasing client roster. In 2017, Sir Kensington’s was acquired by Unilever, one of the world’s leading consumer products businesses, in their first food acquisition in 17 years for a reported $140 million.
Today, Sir Kensington’s is a food innovation company offering a wide range of products aiming to re-invent their respective categories, each more irresistible than the last. These include ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, some spicy, some vegan, and all natural and Non-GMO. Their products can be found in grocery stores and luxury hotel chains all over the country, ranging from Whole Foods and Walmart to United Airlines and The Ritz Carlton, with international expansion on the horizon. In true start-up fashion, Ramadan doubled as a marketing guru, having created the character of Sir Kensington, a fictitious British merchant, to appeal to consumers’ taste for the elegant, exotic, and entertaining.
A born-and-bred entrepreneur, Mark Ramadan’s story lies at the intersection of passion, purpose, gumption, and natural talent. He serves as an inspiration for companies and students alike, proving that no matter how daunting the competition, one bold idea to challenge the status quo (and a lot of hard work) can take you further than you’ve ever imagined.
About Mark Ramadan
Mark Ramadan is the Co-Founder and CEO of Sir Kensington’s, creators of non-GMO, globally-inspired condiments. Sir Kensington’s mission is to bring integrity and charm to ordinary and overcooked food. Ramadan doubled as a marketing guru, having created the character of Sir Kensington, a fictitious British merchant, to appeal to consumers’ taste for the elegant, exotic, and entertaining.
While attending Brown University, Ramadan and his classmate, Scott Norton, were inspired by an article penned by Malcolm Gladwell, titled “The Ketchup Conundrum,” which suggested that it was impossible for new ketchup brands to compete with the nostalgic incumbent, Heinz. From there, Ramadan and Norton set out to change the broader condiment category by not only focusing on taste, but by building a brand that celebrated both food education and food entertainment.
After two years of testing recipes and creating Sir Kensington’s story, the company launched in June 2010. In the following years, Sir Kensington’s launched award-winning lines of mayonnaise, mustard, and vegan mayo named Fabanaise, the first commercial product made from aquafaba. The products can be found in thousands of retailers, including Whole Foods and Kroger, and hospitality establishments, including Bareburger, The Spotted Pig, and The Ritz-Carlton, nationwide. In April 2017, Sir Kensington’s was acquired by Unilever.
Prior to Sir Kensington’s, Ramadan worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company in New York City, specializing in the consumer goods and travel industries. He graduated in 2008 from Brown with a BA in Economics and International Relations.
Ramadan has been featured on Fast Company’s “1000 Most Creative People in Business” and Forbes’ “30 under 30” list.