Could Ranch be the New Ketchup? JT April 5, 2012 Condiments, Marketing 14 Comments Watch out ketchup – Hidden Valley is coming for you. In a new, straight-forward marketing campaign, the purveyor of the famous ranch dressing is taking the ubiquitous condiment head on. As you can see from the bottle above, Hidden Valley wants to be the “new ketchup” for the American consumer. I like the aggressive messaging of this campaign, and I agree that there is an opportunity for the company. We all know that ranch dressing goes on far more than salads, and has been a prime dipping destination for chicken wings, pizza crusts, french fries, and other things, for a long time. As a result, Hidden Valley has made a slightly thicker version, and put their white ooze in a squeezable bottle, hoping to appear within reach of both restaurant and kitchen tables in the near future. However, while I think the idea and campaign have some potential, I have two concerns: 1. It is going to be hard to make ranch a success in restaurants because it needs to be refrigerated (the dairy component). Conversely, ketchup is far more liberal in the temperature department. That said , I have no doubt that Clorox (parent of Hidden Valley) has a team of scientists working ’round the clock on a temperature-resistant formula. I can’t wait to see that ingredient list – I might have to find my high school chemistry textbook. Speaking of ingredients… 2. Hidden Valley did not become a well-known brand by caring about people’s health. My problem here is that if ranch becomes even more accessible than it is now, how much fatter are people going to get? If diners see ranch dressing on the table next to the ketchup and salt and pepper, they are not going to start getting any skinnier, that’s for sure. I know this comes down to personal choice, but it bugs me. Have you seen the nutritional info and ingredient list on a bottle of ranch recently? Example: 2 tablespoons = 14g fat. [Heinz ketchup? 0g fat.] As I write this, Leon is getting laaaarger. So what do you think? Do you like the campaign? As a consumer, would you be happier knowing that your constant access to ranch dressing is just that much closer? Does ranch really taste like desperation? Talk to me, readers. H/t to the WSJ for the news and the top bottle. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts JT Latest posts by JT (see all) Starbucks Enters New Beverage Territory - August 1, 2013 Dole’s Banana Dippers Look Promising - July 7, 2013 Time For Summer Food - June 20, 2013 14 Responses Victoria April 6th, 2012 I work at a very large non chain restaurant and the running joke around here is that we add ranch to everything. It’s already accessible and popular, I think Hidden Valley is just hooking their wagon to an already speeding train. Reply Marvo April 6th, 2012 When I saw the press release for this the other week, I couldn’t help but shake my head for all the reasons you brought up. Reply Mr Bob April 10th, 2012 I have put ranch on my french fries since I was in high school..I was ahead of the curve, since I am fast approaching 50 now. ! Reply Hannah April 10th, 2012 1) most kids favorite dressing is Ranch 2) Too many of our nations children are already obese. Which is a national campaign against headed by our first Lady. 3) this adds up to a huge possibility of a flop…yes you can get kids to eat more veggies with Ranch, but Ketchup is just as loved or more by kids and is way healthier. Hidden Valley would have to make major changes for this to work. Reply Jodi April 10th, 2012 I work at a craft brewery that also serves lovely food. We had a group of student ‘chefs’ in to learn about brewing and beer/food pairings. Out of 6 wannabe chefs, 4 ordered sides of ranch to dip/spread/pour/obliterate the flavor of any actual food on their plates. And I wept for the culinary future. Reply Robin April 10th, 2012 Don’t forget about the MSG content… Not good. Reply Wordfrique April 10th, 2012 ranch is already the new ketchup! Reply Jeff April 10th, 2012 Personally I stopped purchasing store bought dressings in favor of homemade years ago. But the key to stopping the probation of these types of low quality, unhealthy products is consumer education about food and health. So Alton keep chipping away at your mission in life! Keep up the good work. Big fan. Reply Mike April 11th, 2012 Gotta love free enterprise. If people want to eat this and Hidden Valley makes a bizillion dollars, great! If people choose to make themselves fat be eating too much of it, that’s THEIR choice; not yours, not mine, not anybody else’s. And guess what, THEY should be on the hook to pay for any health consequences; not you, not me, not anybody else. Share the facts if you like, but then get out of the way. Reply Nutrition April 11th, 2012 I agree, but your second point falls flat. It’s scientifically impossible, fat does not make you fat. Increased insulin levels are a prerequisite for fat cell production, eating fat does not cause increased insulin levels. The sugar/preservatives that are in foods should be worrying you FAR more than fat. Why is this scientific fact viewed as some sort of fringe “food trend”? It’s basic nutrition and yet millions of “experts” are completely, willfully ignorant to this (very) basic principle of human physiology. Reply Jeff Donaldson April 12th, 2012 You made ranch come out of my nose with your Airplane! reference Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Name* Email* Website Comment Current ye@r * Leave this field empty Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.