April 6, 2012
The New Ketchup

Hidden Valley Foods wants you to consider using ranch dressing on everything, instead of just salads and as a veggie dip.

The company isn’t making subtle comparisons. “The New ‘Ketchup’” proclaims the label. It is affixed to a “retro-style” ketchup bottle to signal, “hey, this is ketchup,” says Jon Balousek, vice president and general manager for the food, charcoal and cat-litter businesses at Clorox Co., which owns Hidden Valley.

The company hopes the topping and dip, called Hidden Valley for Everything, will be “as ubiquitous as ketchup on restaurant tables and in consumers’ kitchens,” says Mr. Balousek. […]

About 15% of ranch dressing is used on foods other than salad and vegetables, says Hidden Valley. The most popular are chicken, potatoes (including french fries), sandwiches, chips, and pizza, according to NPD.

The company’s goal was to create a product that would be thick enough to form a rounded dollop on top of a hamburger and didn’t leave “just a wet wing,” after dipping, mimicking the thickness and stickiness of ketchup, says Mr. LaMontagne. The company won’t give details on the new, thicker recipe, but says the calorie count per serving is the same.

My first roommate in college used to dip everything in ranch, especially his plate of french fries. I used to think he was crazy, but maybe he was just really, really, ahead of the curve.

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