Former Northwestern University quarterback Todd Somers has been to a lot of football games. That means spending a lot of time waiting in line to add mustard and ketchup to his hamburgers.
About six years ago, he came up with the idea to combine the two condiments into one. He and his wife, Ann, started mixing them in different proportions in their kitchen in Trout Valley.
"We started this off as a hobby," Somers said. "As we went through the development phase, we thought there was something that folks would enjoy."
They dubbed the result Somers' Family MustKetch.
Somers' friends connected him with Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations, a Chicago-based company. The company helped the family refine their idea and develop three distinct flavor profiles: original, zesty and smoke. They began selling it on Amazon and at local grocery stores, including Butera Market locations and Angelo Caputo's Fresh Markets.
"The feedback we've had on Amazon has been really good," Somers said. "If you like mustard and ketchup, you're very likely to like these three flavors. While it is certainly a mustard/ketchup ingredient base, there are additional ingredients that make the flavors unique."
As its name suggests, the original is the most traditional mix of the two and recommended on hamburgers, chicken fingers and hot dogs. Zesty is heavier on the mustard and adds in dill and celery salt while smoke gets a bolder flavor from cayenne pepper and sriracha. You can find a collection of recipes incorporating the various flavors on the company's website, mustketch.com.
The business is a real family affair. The Somers' enlisted their six kids, who range in age from 39 to 27, and their eight grandkids as taste testers. Todd's brother Scott has also been instrumental in pushing the project forward and was the one who initially suggested making three flavors.
MustKetch has already been shipped to 36 states via Amazon and is sold in 25 stores, though Somers hopes to double that number. He's also been promoting the product by providing samples in stores and at festivals.
Somers is also running radio ads at Northwestern football games, where he hopes other people will be just as excited about his time-saving product.
"We've just had a lot of fun with this, and we're really excited about the future," he said.
Visit www.mustketch.com for all the local stores where MustKetch is sold.