Revamping an All-American Recipe
Slathering on some all-American ketchup is a must when eating burgers and fries. However, most people don’t realize their household favorite is probably made of genetically-modified tomatoes along with big doses of salt and sugar. Portland-based Jeff Bergadine made it a mission to make this classic condiment healthier while maintaining the beloved ketchup flavor.
After 20 years in the food and beverage industry, Bergadine quit his catering job to create and become co-owner of Portlandia Foods, the maker of organic Portland Ketchup. Made with organic ingredients, Portland Ketchup Company represents gluten-free ketchup sourced from locations with good practice certifications. An important aspect of Portland Ketchup Company is collaborating with farms and businesses that value the role of organic foods in people’s health.
Having a passion for traveling, Bergadine met his future business partner, Michael Deal, during a trip in Costa Rica. After many months of taste testing, Bergadine and Deal created a product with half the amount of salt and sugar as ordinary ketchup. “I enjoy creating food in all styles and the challenge of getting them to market,” says Bergadine.
Using his catering contacts to get the name out there, their big break was in 2011 when McMenamins agreed to stock the ketchup in every restaurant location. Now you can find their product on the tables of restaurants and stores all over the Northwest. “Seeing our product on restaurant tables is truly surreal,” says Bergadine. “I am so humbled by the interest and excitement we have created.”
With ambitions to sell their products nationally, Portlandia Foods now makes mustard, jam and BBQ sauce and has plans to add more products to its lineup. “I am constantly thinking about what we can make next,” says Bergadine. “If we’re lucky, perhaps his next product will be a healthier mayonnaise — now that’s a challenge!”
Just like the ingredients of this organic ketchup, Bergadine’s description of Portlandia Foods is quite simple. “It’s a mindful experiment in making really good food,” says Bergadine.