October 8, 2019 at 6:32 PM CDT
Updated October 9 at 7:52 AM
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (Heartland News at 9) - Students at Southeast Missouri State University are selling a new product called Hawk Sauce.
This new hot sauce is being produced and available for purchase after high demand from a trial program earlier this year.
The students are from the Southeast Hospitality Management program and have cooked up 310 bottles to sell to anyone, plus another 60 on the way.
SEMO student Megan Reichert was part of the program and helped with the bottling stages of the product. She said it was a great experience to make something unique for people to enjoy.
“It was a very cool learning experience for me,” Reichert stated. “A hands-on activity rather than just lectures or reading it out of a textbook.”
The idea first came about when the Hospitality Management Program Director Quantella Noto saw hot sauce products at a football game in the fall of 2018.
"Considering we were in a marketing class, product development makes sense for that," Noto said. "I wanted it to be something fun and interesting. We didn't necessarily think it was going to evolve the way that it did, but, I thought it was a good idea to do something very different to combine a variety of skills."
Students originally only made roughly 75 bottles for an assignment they were given in their class in the Spring. It quickly sold out and people demanded more.
“Once we found out how many people really wanted it, we looked at each other and we were like, ‘We might be in over our heads a little bit here’,” SEMO student Dennis Settles said. “We weren’t expecting this to blow up the way it did at all, but it’s really cool.”
They initially came up with a plethora of hot sauce recipes which they narrowed down by taste testing and voting from those inside the class and across the campus.
"I kind of just started walking through the building letting people taste it," Noto continued. "It was a couple of days later when someone from admissions asked for 125 bottles. It was at that point when we had something good and interesting."
This new student-run entrepreneurship opportunity allows students to learn the business from start to finish.
“With this, you get something that the students really get to be involved in and create their own product,” Settles added. “When all is said and done, the longer that product goes on, the more they can think, ‘Wow. I started this. I did this when I was in class’. It really enhances their education and the value they see in it because they get to look back and see how it’s progressed.”
The Hawk Sauce is available for purchase at Catapult at any time, plus the farmers market in Downtown Cape Girardeau this Saturday. Also, any department at SEMO is available to purchase the product as well.