Ranch dressing is abnormally popular among Midwesterners in the United States, so much so that someone named a book after the phenomenon. In my time here, I’ve seen ranch dressing used as:
- Dip for french fries.
- Hamburger condiment.
- Dipping sauce for breadsticks.
- Sauce for omelets.
- Topping in burritos.
And this is entirely in addition to classic use as a salad dressing and vegetable dip.
Cheap ranch dressing is ripe to miss the boat on real food. It’s a food processor’s wet dream: take water, toss in some inexpensive ingredients and artificial flavors, some xanthan gum, and you’ve got truckloads of ranch which can be sold with soda profit margins.
One of the more popular grocery store ranch dressing products is brought to you by Hidden Valley.
Here’s what’s in Hidden Valley’s ranch dressing:
Vegetable oil, egg yolk, sugar, salt, buttermilk, spices, garlic, onion, vinegar, phosphoric acid, xanthan gum, modified food starch, MSG, artificial flavors, disodium phosphate, sorbic acid, calcium disodium EDTA, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate.
Reading through the list, you probably felt fairly positive moving through the first 10. After that, however, the ingredients take a steady decline in the additive/preservative realm.
Still, though, it’s not as bad as it could have been. They could be using high fructose corn syrup instead of sugar.
Expect the ingredients of other ranch dressings to be similar to Hidden Valley, like Kraft’s ranch dressing and any ranch dressing served in a chain restaurant.