Ranch Is Better Than Ketchup—Here’s Why

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The data says that ranch is officially the nation's favorite condiment. Let's take a dip into why this flavorful all-American sauce is having its breakout moment.

Has ketchup been dethroned as Ruler of the Condiments? Plenty of signs point to YES. We did some investigating to find out why so many people are so obsessed with the flavor-boosting frontrunner: ranch dressing.

This is why ranch dressing has surpassed ketchup

Due to its skyrocketing popularity, primarily among millennials and Gen Zers, ranch dressing has climbed its way to the top of the condiment/dip chain.

What’s causing the spike? Well, ranch is now being marketed as more than just a salad dressing. The buttermilk-based beauty is loved because it pairs perfectly with just about anything. Yes, you can even pair it like these weird food combinations.

Jacquie Klein, who leads the brand marketing team at Hidden Valley, says, “Ranch is a rising iconic flavor in food and culture today. It’s found on more than half of restaurant menus and in 75% of homes in the U.S.” According to Clorox Co., the parent company of the Hidden Valley brand, 70% of ranch is eaten with non-salad fare—including pizza, fries, burgers and more.

Some people are so enamored with this creamy, zesty condiment, they have ranch fountains at weddings. There’s even a whole cookbook dedicated to ranch enthusiasts. Or you could try one of our recipes to use up your bottle of ranch.

The history of ranch dressing

In the early 1950s, plumber Steve Henson created the first batch of ranch dressing while working as a contractor in Alaska. In 1954, he and his wife Gayle opened Hidden Valley Ranch, a dude ranch in California, where they served it to customers. The buttermilk-based sauce was an instant hit, so they began selling it in packages for customers to take home. So many people wanted “ranch” that Steve and Gayle incorporated Hidden Valley Ranch Food Products, Inc., and opened a factory to manufacture it. The rest is delicious history!

How to enjoy ranch

Ranch dressing makes, of course, a tasty salad dressing and vegetable dip. However, ranch lovers have found more ways to consume the iconic sauce…like dipping, dunking, and coating. It’s a must for eating fried pickles and french fries, sprinkling on popcorn and dunking slices of pizza. It’s also the preferred dip for chicken wings and chicken strips. But before you pull out that old bottle from the back of your fridge, be sure to take note of when you bought it! Here’s how long condiments actually last.

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Ceara Milligan
Ceara Milligan is an avid people fan and an unabashed brand geek. Her true passion lies within research, where she unveils consumer, brand, and industry insights and discovers the many ways in which people shop, communicate, search, and design a unique presence both online and offline. She loves staying informed about trends that affect the outlook of businesses every single day. She has extensive experience in developing digital and brand strategies and inspiring creativity across all channels and touchpoints. She has implemented strategies for brands in various industries, including healthcare, agriculture, food and beverage, travel and tourism, CPG, nonprofit, insurance, financial services, beauty, education, retail, B2B, and automotive. Ceara graduated cum laude from Marquette University in 2012, where she studied Marketing, Information Technology, and Advertising. When she isn't in marketer mode, Ceara can be found listening to Third Eye Blind, cheering on Marquette Golden Eagles basketball, playing trivia, petting strangers' dogs, and baking up a storm.