Kraft has a new product for kids: Salad “frosting.” It’s ranch dressing in a squeeze pouch. The plug (if it isn’t obvious): Kids don’t like salad but they do enjoy sugar, so trick ‘em into eating more greens with this special label, you sneaky parent, you.
As someone who sees rebranding as a fine parenting tool, I want to love this. I really do. But it cannot become a thing for a number of reasons:
- Ranch dressing isn’t much healthier than actual cake frosting. As HuffPost points out: “Pillsbury’s Creamy Supreme vanilla frosting has 140 calories and 5 grams of fat per 2-tablespoon serving, while Kraft’s Classic Ranch Dressing has 110 calories and 11 grams of fat for the same serving size. The Pillsbury frosting has more sugar, however, with 20 grams versus 1 gram for the Kraft dressing.” You might as well just put peas on an ice cream sundae and call them “squishy green sprinkles.”
- Children aren’t fools.
- It lacks the attributes of cake frosting. A plausible hack could be to put hummus in a frosting piping bag so kids could decorate their veggies. Kind of fun, right? What the hell are they supposed to do with runny ranch dressing? If they can’t draw hearts on their kale, what is even the point?
- The squeeze pouch format is just confusing. Is it supposed to be a single serving? That’s a lot of ranch.
- I don’t know, but it doesn’t seem like most kids have a problem eating ranch dressing in an undisguised state. (I always have to remind my child: “Hey, don’t forget to eat the carrot sticks, too!”) I get that it’s supposed to encourage them to eat more vegetables, but I feel like we are rebranding the wrong item here.
- It just sounds like sadness.
I am all about letting kids have fun with their food. And I am not morally opposed to telling children the occasional white lie for the greater good (or just because you need some silence). But saying that ranch dressing is “salad frosting” just feels a little insulting, both to children and to frosting. We can do better.