Sir Kensington’s condiment company was founded in 2010 by Scott Nordon and Mark Ramadan. They wanted to reimagine ordinary or overlooked foods with integrity and charm. They were acquired in 2017 by Unilever, which has also acquired brands like Ben & Jerry’s. Sir Kensington’s has been a certified B-Corporation since 2018, with a score of 83 (the cutoff is an 80). They failed the B-Corp assessment with their first attempt, so the company decided to look deeper into their impact goals. Their four current focuses are responsible sourcing, packaging, work culture, and community impact. Their certifications also include being Non-GMO Project Verified for all of their products and Certified Humane for all of their eggs. Sir Kensington’s has one fully organic product, their Organic Mayonnaise. In 2019, 15.7% of their ingredients were organic, with the company having the goal to double that number by 2022. This year, however, they are at 19.4% of their ingredients being organic. They have now changed this goal to be 31% by 2023. Some of Sir Kensington’s strengths include their work with nonprofits and their simple ingredient list compared to other popular ketchup brands. They have a lot of goals to increase their sustainability but could provide more details on the steps it will take to get there. The company has also released their first integrity report since being created where they are honest about their shortcomings. While this review is on the ketchup, it is important to note that in one of Sir Kensington’s mayonnaise, avocado oil is used. The company notes that avocado oil from the Mexican State of Michoácan is a high-risk ingredient, as there are known human rights violations and deforestation risks. The money that is involved in growing these avocados also attracts criminal groups like drug cartels. Sir Kensington’s continues to say that they don’t know for sure if these issues are happening within their supply chain, but just the fact that they could be is a huge issue and makes me deduct points in the end.
The ketchup is made from tomatoes, tomato paste, Fair Trade organic cane sugar, water, onions, distilled vinegar, salt, lime juice concentrate, green bell peppers, and allspice. The ketchup is gluten-free, vegan, and kosher. They also do not use artificial preservatives. When comparing this list to Heinz ketchup, it is a plus that the first ingredient is tomatoes versus tomato concentrate. There is also no high fructose corn syrup, and the sweetener is Fair Trade certified. 98% of Sir Kensington’s sweeteners are Fair Trade certified by Fair for Life and Fair Trade USA. Their integrity report admits that their supply chain is complex, so I would like to have more details on their website on where each ingredient is coming from. Most of Sir Kensington’s packaging is made from glass. While it is a natural material that can be reused, it can be heavy. This turns into a higher carbon footprint during transport. Their material breakdown is 74% glass, and 26% plastic, paper, and metal. Plastic is used for their squeeze bottles and caps. Derived from petroleum, plastic requires significant amounts of greenhouse gas to produce and can harm ocean ecosystems. Sir Kensington’s is working to make the switch from virgin plastic by increasing the proportions of PCR (post-consumer recycled) plastic in their packaging. They aim to use 100% recyclable and 100% recycled materials for their rigid plastics by 2022. But as of 2021, they are at 24%. The single-serve packets of their condiments and their bottle labels are not recyclable and are fated for the landfill. Another goal Sir Kensington’s had was to use 100% recycled materials for their paper/fiber by the end of 2020. They missed this goal, however, and are currently at 84%. They explained that they are still on the issue but need to work “a little more closely with our partners to verify they’re sourcing 100% recycled fiber”. The company did make a new squeeze bottle made with 50% PCR plastic and a special silicon cap and valve that are designed to “swim” in the recycling stream. Instead of contaminating the plastic recycling stream, the silicon will separate easily so the rest of the plastic can be recycled. This makes it easier for the consumer as well, as the entire bottle can be thrown into the recycling bin.
The tomatoes are sourced from a collection of farms in Central and Northern California. The large red tomatoes and the small green and red tomatoes are used to make the product, with the small tomatoes being turned into the paste and the big tomatoes being crushed. This way, all of the tomatoes in the field can be used for their ketchup. Large amounts of water are used in the growing, cleaning, and processing of the ingredients. There is a lack of information about any more mechanics of the farm or factory, but since the tomatoes are not listed as organic, it can be assumed that pesticides and synthetic fertilizers are being used.
The company pledges that 1% of net sales are donated to charitable organizations working towards a more just food system, and 2% of their team’s time is meant to be volunteering to support local food systems. Their NYC headquarters also source 100% of their electricity through renewable resources and have diverted 230 pounds of food from landfills in 2020 through their composting program. Lunch & Learns are hosted with entrepreneurs, sustainability experts, and non-profit partners. There is also the DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council) that works to cultivate a positive work culture. Performance incentives like bonuses are linked to sustainability and DEI goals, not just sales. Sir Kensington’s also partners with nonprofits like the Food Education Fund, a culinary public school program, and Emma’s Torch, a program that empowers refugees through culinary education. They also work with Hot Bread Kitchen that trains women facing economic insecurity in the kitchen. The company supports projects like BK Rot, the Green Bronx Machine, and FEAST in creating green jobs through composting and urban gardening and training health educators in communities with food insecurity. However, more transparency is needed on the specific working conditions of those on the farms or in the factory. While Sir Kensington's makes it clear on their website that they value the safety and happiness of their workers, it would be better to have the details on how they assure this.