Today we’d like to introduce you to Steve Prendergast.
Hi Steve, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I had spent six months a year both in 2018 and 2019 in Jamaica attempting to build a business. While down there, I invested in two scotch bonnet pepper farms and created a farm based charity called Natural Releaf Charities LTD. Both farms were starting to make progress and I had successfully sold over 3000 lbs of peppers when COVID hit the world.
At that time, I found myself with no market for the peppers we had grown and were growing. It was a devastating time. At one point we had to watch 300lbs of peppers spoil with no options on the horizon.
This is when I started researching other uses of the scotch bonnet pepper. I learned that by preparing a pepper mash in 55-gallon barrels, we were able to make use of the peppers in other ways and give it longer shelf life. It was at this point that I started looking into making a scotch bonnet pepper sauce.
Having my own small backyard farm of scotch bonnet peppers, I started to make small batches of sauce and offer it to friends and family. I made five batches of 50-70 bottles at a time perfecting the recipe based on the feedback I was getting.
Once we realized, we had a great product that the public loved, we reached out to several co-bottlers to make a bulk amount of sauce. We found one and in September of 2021 and November of 2021, we had over 2000 5-ounce bottles made. To this say, we have successfully sold over 1500 bottles of our Tropical Sweet Heat Sauce online through Facebook, farmer markets, and events.
We have been so successful in finding a great sauce that people who like spicy love, that we have ordered another 2000 5-ounce bottles to be manufactured here in Florida.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been quite a struggle actually. We found that it is not easy to sell sauce that can be shipped as prices to mail goods have increased dramatically over the last year. People just don’t want to pay $4.50 shipping for just one bottle of sauce.
So what we did instead was we offered our sauce at wholesale prices to Caribbean restaurants in our town. We were able to connect with over 15 such locations in the last 6 months to offer our sauce to their customers.
We are still trying to find the online sales formula that gets our sauce to our customers at a reasonable price
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Under the DBA of Hot Diggity Pepper Company, our business is a one-person LLC. Our specialty now is Hot Pepper sauce, pepper jelly, pepper powder and hot honey.
Our Tropical Sweet Heat Sauce is unique. It starts sweet and ends with a kick of Caribbean Heat. It is not overbearing and lets the flavor of the food come out in combination with the sauce.
When asked “Do you like spicy” at events and someone stops by our booth and tries some of our Tropical sweet Heat sauce, over 60% buy some right there on the spot.
In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
I think that spice has become a household need in the last 2 years and more and more brands have got into the market by offering spicy versions of their products like chips, fast food chains and other national brands. It will only get bigger from here
- 5 ounce bottle $6 at an event
- 3 bottles for $15 at an event
- Online one case delivered in US $48
- Website: https://Hotdiggitypeppers.com
- Instagram: https://www.facebook.com/HotDiggityPeppers
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HotDiggityPeppers
- TikTok: @hotdiggitypeppers
Hot Diggity Pepper Company