Millennials have allegedly killed mayonnaise and now they are killing ketchup. Or, at the very least, Clorox Co., manufacturer of Hidden Valley Ranch, has now declared itself triumphant over its condiment rival. It claims that 70% of ranch usage now takes place outside the confines of the salad bowl and that it has—sacré bleu!—replaced blue cheese as the preferred companion of buffalo wings.
“Ranch is a mega-flavor in food that’s found across the store, where ketchup is really bound by its bottle in the condiments aisle,” gloats a Hidden Valley Ranch marketing director in Ad Age.
Although IRI, the analytics group that tracks such things, declines to classify ranch as a condiment—it’s still officially a salad dressing, thank you very much—it also reports that ketchup sales have been flat over the past few months while ranch continues to grow. According to IRI, ketchup is now a $833 million retail business. Through some strategic number-juggling, Hidden Valley has managed to suggest that ranch is close to $1 billion. It also continues to bombard the world with stunts like National Ranch Dressing Day and campaigning for a ranch-flavored Pop Tart. (It is a fact, though, that the St. Louis restaurant Twisted Ranch developed independent of the influence of Hidden Valley.)
Could this possibly be a reflection of our troubled times? Remember when school lunch activists wanted to classify ketchup as a vegetable? Have things gotten so terrible that we’re rejecting vegetables in all forms altogether? Should we all embrace Kranch in the name of peace and harmony?