If I ever needed more proof that a '90s revival is in full effect, today's news items certainly get the job done -- at least on a personal level. As a child, you see, ranch dressing was my condiment of choice. Not just to drown vegetables in, either. I used to serve myself enough to coat every item on my plate. Weird kid shenanigans, right? Or maybe I was just a pioneering trendsetter ahead of my time, because now it looks like everybody else is finally following suit.
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First, there’s a new product out from the mother of all ranch dressings – Hidden Valley itself. Today’s Wall Street Journal ran a profile on “Hidden Valley for Everything,” a product that’s instantly reminiscent of the alternate instructions on the box of their dry seasoning mix* (to paraphrase: for a thicker and creamier dip-type dressing, use sour cream). The company is hoping that, as its name suggests, it will catch on as an all-purpose condiment – and with “THE NEW KETCHUP” emblazoned on the bottle, it isn’t exactly shy about it:
The idea hit when an executive watched his college-age daughter "bath her entire salmon in ranch dressing," at the dinner table. The company suspected a specific product for this purpose might appeal to people, especially younger consumers, says Grant LaMontagne, senior vice president and chief customer officer for Clorox. (His daughter is the salmon eater.)
Salmon covered in ranch dressing? That sounds shameful**. But WSJ notes that it’s a widespread shame – ranch dressing is the most popular salad dressing in the United States by far, and 15 percent of it goes toward decidedly non-salad pursuits like chicken wings, French fries, and pizza. By making a thicker readymade version of their classic flavor, Hidden Valley is aiming to drive that percentage even higher.
But Hidden Valley isn’t the only ranch game in town. It hasn’t been long since Taco Bell launched its Doritos Locos tacos nationwide, but it’s already looking to expand the line. Last night the company tweeted a hint about an upcoming new item:
That can only mean one thing, right? Some Twitter followers speculated on Doritos Locos vending machines among other flights of fancy, but we're going out on a limb and predicting Cool Ranch Doritos Locos.
There’s no getting around it, the Nacho Cheese version of the taco was a little underwhelming, and blended a little too well with the spice mix already involved in a Taco Bell taco. Maybe Cool Ranch will add the contrast and kick it needs – though I do hope the franchise will at least consider my suggestions:
Salsa Verde*** for life.
But I digress. The point is that – trend alert – everything old is new again, and that includes the contents of my dinner plate circa 1991. Ranch dressing is back, it’s coming for your children’s delicate palates, and it’s taking no prisoners.
*Apparently someone here has spent far too many minutes of her childhood reading the back of a Hidden Valley Ranch box.
***Which is basically just Spicy Cool Ranch anyway, right?