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Ranch Dressing Invades Ketchup Territory

Hot & Cool Food Trends

No longer content to merely be your default salad dressing and veggie dip, the people behind Hidden Valley Ranch dressing want a new version of their ranch dressing to become “the new ketchup.” The new, thicker product actually calls itself that right on the bottle neck label.

The Clorox Company, makers of Hidden Valley Ranch, has packaged the creamy white stuff in a kind of retro-style ketchup bottle and has dubbed it “Hidden Valley for Everything” Topping & Dip. It will be merchandised in stores on the condiment shelf right next to actual ketchup.

Speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Jon Balousek, vice president and general manager for the food, charcoal and cat litter businesses at Clorox, says the company hopes the product will become “as ubiquitous as ketchup on restaurant tables and in consumers' kitchens.”

But it won’t happen in restaurants for a while at least, because Hidden Valley for Everything must be refrigerated after opening. But the company is working on that, and hopes to soon have a reformulated version that can sit on bistro tables for extended periods.

I must admit, I’ve enjoyed ranch dressing on grilled turkey burgers for a while now, and a thicker version that won’t drip off the bun will be welcomed in my house. The less-runny product should serve as a better dip for veggies and french fries, as well.

We Americans already eat a ton of ranch dressing. It is the most often used salad dressing in the U.S. Consumers use ranch twice as often as other salad-dressing flavors like Italian and French and its popularity shows no sign of slipping, according to NPD Group, a market research firm.

So now that it’s the top dog in the salad arena, I guess it’s only natural that ranch would look for new worlds to conquer. It will be interesting to see how it fares in this venture on to ketchup’s turf, because, let’s face it, Americans love their ketchup, too.

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