Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 18

It Ott to be good
The ownership group at Ott Food Products consists of, from left, Dustin and Stacey Larsen and Casey and Ryan Brunnert. The company has been making dressings and sauces for 71 years.

Carthage business produces dressings and sauces since 1948
facing for supermarket shoppers. These are the products made under the Ott's
name. While they have approximately 30 sauces and dressings, the three most
nside the nondescript building on the corner of Hazel and Fairview, the plant popular are the Famous and ranch dressings and Original Wing Sauce. The
LV EXV\ ZLWK DFWLYLW\ 2QHJDOORQ ERWWOHV RI EDUEHFXH VDXFH DUH ÀOOHG IRU D products are available at 2,000 stores and supermarkets in Missouri and surrounding states.
popular chain restaurant. Pallets of ranch, Italian and poppy seed dressing
With the business' roots in Jasper County dating back to Red's Cafe, Ryan
are moved by forklift readying for delivery. New recipes are being researched.
says they are right where they want to be. "Carthage is the crossroads of
The workers here help feed the Midwest.
America," he says. "We have great employees here, there's no way we could
For 71 years, customers have enjoyed Ott's dressings
have what we do without the workforce here. Being in a smaller town
and sauces created in southwest Missouri. What started as
makes it a little easier when you need something."
a homemade sauce served by a local restaurateur has transThe second aspect to the business includes private labeling where
formed into a production facility consisting of a family of dressa company will purchase an Ott's product, place their label on it and
ings and sauces as well as co-packing and private label items all
use it as their own.
made in Carthage.
Co-packing - where a company or restaurant contracts with
In 1947, Walter and Ruby Ott had recently purchased Red's
Carthage
Ott's to make their product for them - rounds out the business.
Cafe along Route 66 where Walter served a ruby-red salad dressing
´:HVLJQDFRQÀGHQWLDOLW\DJUHHPHQWZKHQWKH\JLYHXVWKHLUUHF
much like the one his mother made.
ipe," Ryan says. "We break it down and convert it to an indusOtt Food Products CEO Ryan Brunnert says that dressing -
trial size, balancing the difference between the products we use and
which today is the signature Original Famous Dressing - is the genesis of the
what's available at stores. We do multiple taste testing with ourselves and the
company. "They called it red dressing and everyone loved it."
So popular was the dressing along the Mother Road, that the Ott's sold the customer to make sure we get it right."
The minimum batch Ott's makes is 170 gallons. "The biggest thing when
cafe the following year to focus entirely on the dressing. As demand increased,
they purchased land for a production facility, the same location where Ott Food you're taking a 16-ounce bottle and converting it to a 320-gallon batch is that
Products is today. "Walter and Ruby ran it until 1979 basically making the you use the same ingredients and the same whipping. That can be very challenging."
original dressing, Italian and barbecue sauce," says Ryan.
Making sure shoppers know Ott's products are all made in Missouri is
The business has had a handful of owners since the Ott's passed the torch
in 1979. Today it's a family affair with an ownership team consisting of Ryan important, especially as they must compete on shelves against large, national
brands. New Ott's labels indicate it as a Misand his wife, Casey, along with his sister Stacey
souri-made product.
Larsen and her husband, Dustin.
"We updated our logo slightly and are refreshAlong the way the business has seen muling our label," Dustin says. "We want to keep
tiple expansions of the now 35,000-square-foot
the Midwestern feel and make ourselves a little
building. Today, the four owners and one dozen
more local."
employees can market and produce approxiNo matter if it's the spicy sauce doused on
mately 22,000 pints or 2,800 1-gallon botpulled pork at your local barbecue chain or
tles of sauces per day.
the Famous dressing on a salad at home with
"It's pretty amazing what our team can
your family, Stacey says the products coming
produce here," says Stacey.
out of Ott's are made to relish.
:KHQHYHUDQHZUHFLSHRUÁDYRULVGHYHO
"It's something I enjoy eating and can share
oped, it will be made in smaller batches in
with my kids and my family," she says. "Peothe lab and Dustin will take the product out
ple use our products when they come together
to be tested by groups in the market. Once
for fellowship."
ÀQDOL]HG LW LV FRQYHUWHG IRU LQGXVWULDO SUR
duction and the test product sits for six to
For more information on Ott Food Products
eight months to make sure it's shelf stable
call 417-358-2585, visit www.ottfoods.com or
and ready for retail.
ÀQGWKHPRQ)DFHERRN
The retail side of Ott's is the most front

by Paul Newton | pnewton@ruralmissouri.coop

I

18

RURAL MISSOURI | DECEMBER 2019


http://www.ottfoods.com

Rural Missouri - December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - December 2019

Contents
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Intro
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Contents
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 4
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 5
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 6
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 7
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 8
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 9
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 10
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 11
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 12
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 13
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 14
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 15
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 16
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 17
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 18
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 19
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 20
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 21
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 22
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 23
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 24
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 25
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 26
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 27
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 28
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 29
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 30
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 31
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 32
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 33
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 34
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 35
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Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 37
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - 38
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - December 2019 - Cover4
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