Friday, September 21, 2012
The Problem with Product Testing
The Ranch Dressing Odyssey began back in January. As much as I love Wayne's ranch dressing recipe, it is just too powerful for Reg's palette. I resorted to buying Kraft Canada's Calorie Wise Ranch Dressing. The problem?
Ouch! They had three levels of foodie "security" on the damn bottle and the cap itself is so jagged, trying just to open it sliced open my finger. I had several people write me on Facebook and say the same had happened to them.
I wrote the company who called me and were very kind and nice and said they would send me coupons for other products of theirs as a means of saying sorry. Which was fine. But I made it very clear to them this had happened to other people too and they should change their packaging.
The Odyssey Begins
My mom recommended I use Club House Ranch Style Salads 'n Dips.... I didn't like it and Reg thought it was meh.
So I made my own homemade version of a packaged mix.
It smelled very promising!
Woah, did it ever make a lot! I was really hoping we would like it.
Boring. Bland. Ugh! What a waste.
I started to compare the Kraft brand with others. It was normally $4.19.
I usually only go to Sobeys to pick up Reg's Suisse Mocha Coffee but saw Our Compliments had a peppercorn ranch dressing.
It was significantly less in price and guess what? We kind of liked it.
At this point though, I was kind of obsessed. I had to see if there was a better one out there.
The Blue Menu Ranch Dressing? Cheap but boring.
Hidden Valley Ranch is a classic but it no longer floated my boat.
I have always loved Renee's Gourmet dressings (their Greek with Feta is fabulous) but theirs was just OK and I was shocked to discover they now sell their dressings in plastic containers instead of their pretty glass jars. How sad.
One day I was shopping and they were letting people taste test a new ranch dressing. It got my obsessing all riled up again.
I picked up "Pure" Kraft ranch dressing (what does that make their other ranch dressing?) because it WAS in a glass container, I did like the other not-so-pure- ranch dressing and it was the same price.
Out of curiosity sake I also got a PC Ranch Dressing & Dip because it was a little less and came in a glass container. At this point I knew I was obsessed but no longer cared. There had to be a dressing out there we loved!
We tried them all. Reg could not take it anymore. He told me he could no longer distinguished between any of them and I had to agree with him. None of them stood out at all.
Nutritionally, most of the dressings faired the same. Most had about 7 grams of fat per tbsp and 70 calories per tablespoon. Renee's was a little lower. The saturated fat was all around 1 gram as well. I was starting to think that maybe they all really were the same.
So I went back to Kraft. I gave it another shot. The damn blue rigged cap is still there so I put a kitchen towel over it to protect my hands.
This time I could not get the top seal off and all and when I tried to use scissors to cut it off, I cut myself. Again! Then the vacuum seal on the top just would not come off. I used scissors again to rip it off.
Note: I had no problems getting in to any of the many bottles of ranch dressing I tested.
By the time I had gone through all of those different bottles of ranch dressing to decide the winner, Our Compliments had repackaged theirs and created a "Sensations" label, whatever that means. For me and Reg, this was the winner thanks to its extra peppercorn-y flavour and its good price but...
Was it worth it? The tasting, the financial investment, the obsessing...
Honestly, I don't know. It makes me depressed that there isn't a dressing out there that Reg and I both totally love but it has inspired me to try other kinds of recipes for salad. I think we have become quite sick and tired of ranch, to be honest. Which makes me a bit sad but also has inspired me to be a tad more adventurous when it comes to salad.
Note to Kraft Canada: Any product that reduces me to a wife bringing a bottle of salad dressing to her husband to open it is not going to get my business. Especially when after nine months the packaging is just as brutal as it was when I wrote to complain that your bottles are dangerous and have hurt more people than just myself.