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A Salad Dressing Will Never Be Ketchup: How Hidden Valley Ranch Is Trying To Kidnap Ketchup And That Shit Is Not Happening On My Watch...Oh, Wait, I Don’t Have A Watch. Fuck!

When it comes to ketchup, I’ve always been a Heinz man. I’ve addressed this on my two other blogs, 365 Bars and MAD. I grew up with Heinz and I’m repulsed when I see Hunt’s ketchup at a restaurant and if it’s a lower form than Hunt’s, they probably spell it, “catsup.”

As much as I hate all other brands of ketchup, at least they look like ketchup and they’re a tomato-based product, no matter how vile they taste. A couple of weeks ago I saw something on EV Grieve (scroll to the bottom of the post) that caused my head to spin counter-clockwise and cave in and I’ve been obsessing over it ever since: Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing is starting a campaign to bill themselves as...“The New Ketchup.”

In a Wall Street Journal article, Jon Balousek the vice president of Clorox, yeah, Clorox owns Hidden Valley, said: “Hey, this is ketchup." Jon, I hate to debate the issue with you, but no, Hidden Valley is salad dressing, it’s not ketchup, but please, tell everyone in Delusionville, I send my greetings. Later in the article/press release it’s explained that this whole “campaign” was hatched after an executive watched his college-age daughter bathe her entire salmon in ranch dressing.

First of all, let’s just pretend that Hidden Valley is ketchup (which it’s not), who in their right fucking mind puts ketchup on salmon?
It’s obvious that this executive's daughter is either mentally ill or high on a buffet of mind-zapping drugs, or, most likely, both. She’s probably a shameless little slut too, but that’s neither here nor there, but I did want to throw that out there. So some some zombiefied, psychotically-deranged, drugged to the gills, skankity-wankity college crack whore pours a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing all over her dinner and all of a sudden a mass marketing plan to change the face of ketchup as we know it is hatched? Somewhere Darrin Stephens is spinning in his grave!

I read where they want to position Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing in grocery stores in the ketchup section, to further the illusion that Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing has been magically transformed itself into ketchup. It’s time to call Hidden Valley out on their bullshit. I think it’s time for a little investigative journalism here at TWM!

I thought we'd head over to my grocery store, The Food Emporium, near Union Square. If they have Hidden Valley salad dressing placed in the ketchup section I'm going to ask the manager to do the right thing and move it.

I'm just going to ignore that fork in the road and keep on moving in a straight line down 14th Street to The Food Emporium.

Okay, here we are at The Food Emporium. Let's go inside...

And find the ketchup aisle.

Here's cans of tomato sauce, my investigative nose says we're getting close!

And I was right, here's the ketchup section. So far I don't see any Hidden Valley and it's nice to see Heinz is the dominant force in the section.

There's lots of different flavors and styles of Heinz ketchup these days...

But I prefer the good old basic pure Heinz ketchup! Pure, bold and beautiful!

They do have some inferior, cheapo ketchup products here. This is a discount ketchup called, "America's Choice." If this truly is "America's Choice," I'm moving to another country that has better taste in ketchup!

And of course they've got Hunt's, who has played second fiddle to Heinz its entire shelf life, but it's nice to see it greatly outnumbered by Heinz in the store! As it should be!

Happily I didn't see any Hidden Valley in with the ketchup, so I thought I'd come over to the salad dressing aisle to look for it where it belongs.

And there it is, the little salad dressing that wants to be a big, bad bottle of ketchup.

Hey look, there's no mention of, "The New Ketchup" on the label. Maybe this is just at the test-marketing stage. My hometown of Peoria is a test-market city, so I beg anyone that lives there to complain about the new ketchup idea and if you see this salad dressing in the ketchup section, please, move it back to where it belongs! This has been a public service announcement!

Further proof that the marketing people at Hidden Valley are lost in la-la land. These are tiny tubs of the ranch dressing that you can take, "on-the-go." What do they think people jog with this stuff?

I thought I'd discuss this whole matter with a professional, so I went to customer service and asked to speak to the manager, who's name is Arthur. I showed him a printout of the Wall Street Journal article and asked what he thought about a salad dressing trying to hijack the good name of ketchup and he just looked at me like I was nuts. And believe me, I know that look. He declined having his picture taken and said any photos would have to be approved by the corporate office. I didn't tell him about the photos I had already taken, and corporate office, if you're reading this, I hope you approve! I decided this day of investigative journalism was over, I was starved and went to the corner deli for a big salad.

I got the salad at the corner deli and went up to the cash register to pay and it was then I saw this in a plastic container off to the side of the register. Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed!

Further Reading: Huffington Post, Sacremento Bee and Business Insider.

All I want is the truth,
Just gimme some truth.

Surprise link, click on it, I dare you!


A Questionable Link!

DJ Gidget has started a new feature at her blog where I ask her three questions and she in turn, asks me three questions. You can find out when I lost the "Big V" and find out other information about the both of us here: Question me two times baby! And don't forget to tune in to "The Secret Weapon," the radio show where "Boris" picks out the tunes and Gidget spins them. It's on Woody Radio right now!


Bonus Photo From Danny the Freelancer!

After seeing yesterday's Carnegie Hall violin that I got from the Christmas Cottage, Danny the Freelancer sent in this photo of a real violin and here's what he says about it: "When my Grandfather first came to America from Ireland all he had  with him was a tiny suitcase and this 1917 John Juzek Violin handmade in Prague. His first job was playing in the Orchestra at the NY World's Fair in 1938." Very cool, thanks for sending in another great photo, Danny!


Bonus Big Brother Art From Jaws!

Jaws the Cabbie sent in this art to try to get me to surrender to Big Brother. Thanks, but I'll never surrender, Jaws!

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Reader Comments (54)

Who knew condiments could stir up so much emotion? LOL

Nothing repulses me more than ketchup! Then again, I grew up thinking Hidden Valley Ranch was a fantastical place...I am disappointed to this day, and will not touch either of these things.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGoggla

classic post and wonderful investigative journalism! lol! thanks for exposing hidden valley and the big lie it is trying to foist upon us! this post deserves the pulitzer prize!!

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D.

That manager must have thought you just escaped from Bellevue.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Morning Marty, I see we both wake up at the same time, hehe Thanks for posting the Violin Photo, my Grandfather would be proud. Now on to the ketchup, Heinz has always been in my fridge, I use it to make all my special sauces. Fuck Hidden Valley , that new shit will go down in flames.
Here is my secret recipe, for a spicy sauce. Mix equal parts Heinz ketchup with Wasabi mayonnaise (from Trader Joes) . Great on Chicken or turkey burgers. Or if you don't have the Wasabi mayonnaise, use Helman's mayonnaise & mix in some Wasabi from the old sushi takeout in the fridge. No one uses much of that shit anyway.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDanny the freelancer

Heinz uses high fructose corn syrup in its ketchup.

Hunt's does not.

Ding ding ding ding.

And don't buy that "corn sugar" label - utter BULLSHIT.

High Fructose Corn Syrup = more calories than sugar
High Fructose Corn Syrup = made in a lab
High Fructose Corn Syrup = nasty nasty shit

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShawn Chittle

New Ketchup? They suck. Isn't ranch just mayo and olive juice?

Heinz rules just for their mildly erotic "anticipation" commercials back in the 70s/80s.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDan

You ever have French Fries with mayonnaise? Had it for the first time when I went to Europe in the 60s and that became my favorite. Yum yum, delicious! Of course, fattening and unhealthy but you could eat it up and smack your lips. Oh boy, with I had some now ;)

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMykola Mick Dementiuk

I did see that "Organic roasted red pepper" vinaigrette dressing on the shelf, that I would go for. I only use ketchup on burgers and fries, never really loved ketchup too much,,,I tend to use mustard and mayo on sandwiches. I like Ken's Honey Mustard dressing the best. Can never go wrong with a Lennon song.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAl

Ha ha, very funny post. I've heard of people pouring ranch dressing over pizza, which is a completely and utterly disgusting example of shockingly bad taste. No wonder the obesity rate in America is soaring. I wouldn't even consider pouring ketchup over pizza, and at least it's also tomato-based.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersweetclafoutis

@Goggla: It certainly touched a nerve with me!

@Bobby D: Thanks! I'm patiently awaiting the call from the Pulitzer people right now!

@Jason: I think he did, the look on his face was priceless!

@Danny the Freelancer: Thanks for sending in the photo, it's a cool slice of history! I'll have to try your recipe the next time I make a burger at home!

@Shawn Chittle: Granted, there is HFCS in Heinz, but I will never abandon it for Hunt's!

@Dan: I don't know what Hidden Valley Ranch is and I don't intend to find out!

@Mykola Mick Dementiuk: Never had fries and mayo, but it reminds me of Pulp Fiction when John Travolta is talking about it!

@Al: I used to put ketchup on everything as a kid, now I tend to use it mainly for fries and onion rings. I too prefer mustard on sandwich's and burgers. Glad you liked the Lennon tune!

@sweetclafoutis: Glad you liked the post! I can't imagine putting ranch dressing on pizza, disgusting!

April 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Imagine my horror when when I saw my 23 year old son pouring ranch dressing all over a plate full of leftovers! I was stunned - here in suburbia how could such a thing happen? It wasn't as thought we didn't try to raise him properly - mustard on hot dogs, ketchup on hamburgers, salad dressing only on salad. He claimed this habit was forced on him in college (maybe this is what Santorum had in mind when he talked about college students being indoctrinated) where the dining hall food could only be made palatable with ranch dressing. He was able to convince me for now that he is not on the road to hipster doom but if I come home tonight and find him wearing once of those "pork pie" hats that seem to be popular right now, I gotta start the hunt for the cloning pods right away.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDave - Everywhere

I am an equal opportunity ketchup guy and do on occasion rejoice when they're serving Hunts, but the only ranch dressing for me will forever be Hidden Valley Ranch. Kraft is garbage in comparison. Though I do admit to putting HVRD on my burgers from time to time I would never use it in place of ketchup. That's just nasty.
Here's a fun tip though. If you're making a burger at home, mix some ranch dressing (Hidden Valley of course) powder mix into the ground beef and you'll have the best homemade burger you've ever eaten, and I know you've eaten a lot of burgers in your day.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrandall

Ranch dressing is really ketchup. 2+2=5. You really must learn to be more like Winston Smith Marty...you must win the victory over yourself and learn to love Big Brother. (Tsk tsk) Check your e-mail.....

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

“You know salsa is the number one condiment in America right now” – George Costanza

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercsp

@Dave - Everywhere: Ah, this younger generation! If he gets one of those pork pie hats, I suggest you drench it in Hidden Valley Ranch!

@Randall: Nasty business indeed! I don't know if I can cross enemy lines and try that HVRD recipe, but I'll think about it! Thanks for the tip!

@Jaws the Cabbie: I've run from Big Brother my whole life and now I'm a little scared to check my email, but I will soon!

@csp: It’s because people love to say, Salsa! That hazing through condiments link is frightening and funny all at the same time. I never understood why people would go through that shit just to hang out with knuckleheads!

April 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Funny post Marty. Keep fighting the power!

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlan Simpson

Hey Marty I saw your thing on the DJ Gidget page, I guess you've never been to Vermont. They have maple candy everywhere, I'll bring some back for you

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternight goat

Hey Mykola, did you ever try the Belgian Fries place between 7th & 8th on Second Avenue. They may have something close to what you're looking for close to where you're living.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterUncle Waltie

Hey Uncle Waltie, can't I no longer live in the city, I'm in Niuw Joisey. Belgian fries with mayo are out of this world! Had tons of them the last time I was in Europe.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMykola Mick Dementiuk

Next time you're in the EV, check it out, Mykola. I bet you'd like that place. Belgian Fries with mayo...

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterUncle Waltie

OK I am a Heinz too...
I switched to English Heinz.. No corn syrup... no high fructose or otherwise.. real sugar real crap that Americans cant dream of anymore..
I like ranch on my fries.. but only ranch from macdonalds.
and i hate ranch on anything else.. specially pizza
i'm a ceaser or blue cheese salad person...
I actually dont eat Ketchup too much anymore..I hate when they spell it with a C
I try and make my Heinz from england last longer...stuff aint cheap.. but its soooo worth it...
fuck corn syrup ahahahaha

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGidget

Dear Marty,
why agonize over condiments? Let's worry about things truly important, like the price of beer in the neighborhood bodegas, which is escalating. By the time I get home from the bar, I usually can't tell the difference between Ketchup, Hidden Valley or Pineapple Juice.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterUncle Waltie

I have to agree with regard to Hunt's Vs Heinz. Hunt's is like Heinz that was mixed with mud puddle water and the tears of Chef Boyardee.

I thought that I had seen it all; until I saw a friend's kid eating ranch dressing & peanut butter sandwiches.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterroadsidewonders

@Alan Simpson: Glad you got a larf out of it! Fight the power!

@nightgoat: Thanks! No, I've never been to Vermont, I'm not too-well traveled, something a winning Mega-Millions ticket could correct!

@Gidget: I don't eat a ton of ketchup these days, so I don't think the high fructose thing is going to kill me, I put a lot worse shit in my body! I've never heard of people putting ranch dressing on pizza before this! It really sounds gross! And I totally agree with the "catsup" spelling! I'll try and work in a ketchup question for your blog next week!

@Uncle Waltie: As always, you speak the truth, my friend! Sip Ahoy! (I've been reduced to buying beer at Rite Aid, as opposed to chains as I am, they have the lowest beer prices around.)

@roadsidewonders: "Hunt's is like Heinz that was mixed with mud puddle water and the tears of Chef Boyardee." Ha ha ha! Pure poetry, loved that! Ranch dressing and a peanut butter sandwich? Ugh, ugh and triple ugh!

April 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Try living in Oklahoma. This state puts Ranch on everything. I wouldn't be surprised if that executive's daughter has made her away around the Sooner state. That being said, Hunt's really is the devil's brew and not the good way, like how tequila is El Diablo's brew.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAl Czervik

Marty ooooh we could do wonders with a Ketchup Catchup question thing hahahahhaa....
i get more grossed out by casseroles made with ranch dressing than anything else...
like ranch and tators tots casserole with cheese.
i'd prefer to eat oleo out of a tub that than white trash combo..

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGidget

fork in the road!!! hehehehehe, good one.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlegitimate beef

I think Hidden Valley may have been inhaling Clorox too much. If Hidden Valley ranch dressing is the new ketchup, then perhaps ketchup is the new ranch dressing. Imma start putting ketchup on my salad.

Hated ketchup growing up, but grew up on Del Monte ketchup (bodega did not carry no Heinz ketchup--Heinz is the Rolls Royce of ketchup, and Del Monte is the Pinto), nonetheless..

Learned this in college (yes, I actually learned something from there), those America's Choices/(some)generic ketchup or whatever are actually brand ketchup or whatever -- they're just extra from manufacturing -- cheaper for them to sell than to dispose of them.

One thing about Hidden Valley could never be a ketchup -- one cannot make a poor man's spaghetti with ranch dressing.

Did you know that the Chinese invented ketchup?

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteresquared

@Al Czervik: I've never been to Oklahoma and after hearing this I may never go!

@Gidget: That Tater Tots casserole really sounds gross! What a waste of Tater Tots!

@legitimate beef: An oldie but a goodie! Glad you enjoyed that!

@esquared: "Heinz is the Rolls Royce of ketchup, and Del Monte is the Pinto" Ha ha ha! Good comparison! I did not know that the Chinese invented ketchup! I'll have to go Google that and read up on it!

April 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

I was under the distinct impression that ketchup was Indonesian in origin.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercsp

@TWM: The more you know. One thing we can all agree on. Heinz is the gold standard of ketchup and would never do anything to alter their time honored image or presentation. Right?

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercsp

Heinz Ketchup or any other can be used as a B&W Photo Developer by adding Bicarbonate ( Sodium Bicarbonate, baking soda works too ) & some water. I haven't tried it, but I did try tomato paste & it looked & smelled like tomato soup. It took about an hour to process the B&W photo paper, but to my surprise worked well, so I am sure Heinz will work.
Why did Heinz make Purple, & other color Ketchup?, which can not be sold in France because of the ingredient to make the color is against French Law .

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJHwang

I do think that the Hidden Valley Ranch dressing that you make yourself from the little seasoning packet is pretty damn good. And I've been known to dip a deep-fried mushroom or 50 into the shit, too. But marketing it as ketchup is just downright ridiculous. I'm pretty sure that Columbus is the number one test market in the world, so I'll head over to the store right now and see what the hell is going on. I've got to get some Woolite anyway. Hold please.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

I found the disgusting ingredients is Hidden Vally Ranch & there's MSG in it, which Heinz doesn't have.
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.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJHwang

@csp: They really fucked up when they did that, but the bottom line is that they're a company and they want to make as much dough as they can. I stick to the basic Heinz. At least they're not marketing it as a salad dressing!

@JHwang: I never knew you could develop photos with ketchup! They did the purple and other colors as a publicity stunt and to try and rope in the kiddie market. As I said to csp, I was never a fan of that idea.

@Biff: I'll be anxious to see what you uncover for us! I had no idea that Columbus is the number one test market city! We're anxiously awaiting your findings!

@JHwang: Ugh!

April 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty


April 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermeleah rebeccah

Smoopy, unfortunately, dips everything in ranch :( ..... the most bizarre being pizza - as she eats it backwards -- dipping the crust into the Hidden Valley -- picking off the pepperoni -- dipping the rest of the pizza in that disgusting white stuff ..... eventually getting to the front of the slice. UFB :(

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

Hate ketchup AND ranch dressing - ugh. But then I grew up with Marmite, so my tastes are a bit different! I get free maple candy every year, so I'll bring you some next time.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteronemorefoldedsunset

Marty, you are turning into an Andy Rooney for the internet age. Masterful.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveW

@meleah: TO TEAM HEINZ!

@GENE: Smoopy eats her pizza backwards? Ha ha ha! She sure has some strange eating habits! UFB!

@onemorefoldedsunset: I don't know if I've ever met anyone who hates ketchup! And thanks in advance for the maple candy!

@DaveW: Thank you for the nice compliment! If only 60 Minutes would hire me, we could take some real trips here!

April 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

of course, mustard, is better than ketchup .... especially purple ketchup !

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

@GENE: I agree, although as a kid I never ate mustard and put ketchup on everything. Now ketchup is mainly for french fries and onion rings.

April 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

@GENE: Prepare to Grimace. You don't eat purple ketchup, purple ketchup eats you.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercsp

@csp: Ha ha ha! Good one!

April 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

If it ain't Ketchup, it ain't Ketchup.
'Son Of A Bleach'.

April 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter"Boris"

Holy shit, Marty. If that's the worst thing happening
In your life right now, you're doing better than the
Rest of us. Brilliant post. Now I'm off to the Heinz
Website to find some merch.

April 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterClacky

I didn't even see that you could get a free burger and fries for saying "Hidden Valley Ranch is the new ketchup" I would have sold myself in a second to get a free burger and fries.

I have a secret phrase myself and that is, "I'd gladly pay you never for a hamburger today."

April 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrandall

@"Boris:" "'Son Of A Bleach'." Ha ha ha! Perfect name for Hidden Valley Ranch! Good one, Daddio!

@Clacky: Luckily, right now this is the worst thing in my life! Glad you liked the post, let us know what sort of Heinz merchandise you purchased!

@randall: I'd have been tempted to sell out for that myself, Pop Burgers are pretty good! Love that secret phrase, I'll try it out and see if it works!

April 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Well, I went to the market and, while the Hidden Valley Ranch was still hanging in the salad dressing/mayonnaise section, there was a large space cleared on one of the ketchup shelves. I tried to take pictures, but my 1G exploded. I'll stay on the case and will let you know if HVR makes the move!

April 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

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