This post originally appeared on the Food Genius Blog, by Eli Rosenberg. Check out Food Genius for more restaurant and hospitality industry insights and learn more about the granular insights your menu has to offer. 

Americans Love Ranch

Ranch dressing is a uniquely American food trend. American’s can’t get enough of ranch’s creamy buttermilk base and sharp bite of onion, garlic and dill. In addition to smothering salads with ranch dressing, we dunk fried foods in it, smear it on sandwiches and drizzle it onto baked potatoes. Ranch dressing is closely knit with our national identity that in parts of the world where ranch (infrequently) seasons processed snack foods, the flavor is marketed as “American”.

Food Genius’s dashboard offers unique insight into ranch dressing analytics in the US. Ranch dressing appears on 26% of menus of in the country, with an average state penetration of 64% of unique menus. Penetration is much greater in the South Central and Midwest regions than in coastal states; in Iowa, for example, 81% of all restaurants feature ranch dressing on the menu, but only 37% of restaurants in New York do.

Data on ranch dressing trends from Food Genius’ dashboard  indicates that ranch dressing most often accompanies entrees — whether with salad, pizza or sandwiches, ranch dressing accompanies entrees in 54% of instances. Considering that ranch dressing is a popular dipping sauce (think hot wings, chicken fingers, fried mushrooms and jalapeno poppers), it makes sense that 33% of the time ranch is mentioned, it’s mentioned on small plates & appetizers.

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Let’s use Food Genius to take a closer look at which ingredients ranch dressing is frequently paired with on menus in the US. Ranch dressing analytics indicate that 66% of menus that mention ranch, mention it paired with chicken. Whether deep fried or in a fresh salad, vegetables are a natural ranch dressing companion: in 73% of menu items that mention ranch, include vegetables like tomatoes (35% of items), lettuce (38%), onions (24%) and peppers (21%).

According to Food Genius, ranch dressing is also featured with fellow sauces in 52% of unique menus, commonly hot sauce (8% of items), mustard (5%), and barbeque sauce (3%). This specific ranch dressing data is likely correlated to listing of optional dipping sauces for diners to choose from.

Ranch dressing is an infinitely versatile (and infinitely delicious) sauce, glaze, dip and seasoning that Americans are downright addicted to. Regardless of cuisine or pricing segment, there’s an opportunity for restaurants to capitalize on our nation’s unabating love for ranch.

If you’re interested in learning how Food Genius can help you better understand ranch dressing data and analytics, to create, price and market new dishes, request a demo today.