Food News

Behold, the Age of ‘Salad Frosting’ Is Upon Us

I’ve got 99 problems and this is one.

by:
June 13, 2019
Photo by James Ransom

Every once in a while, a brainstorming bonanza somewhere in corporate America yields a product so instantly iconic that it deserves a place in our country’s history. Crystal Pepsi, Heinz EZ Squirt Ketchup (in shades like green, blue, and purple), and more recently, Swedish Fish Oreos, all come to mind.

But those gimmicky products pale in comparison to the newest contender for historic resonance, a product so bizarre it could have been born in the writing room of SNL, or even The Amanda Show: salad frosting.

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g'bye. #SALADFROSTING

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This kid-oriented, squeezable spectacle is another invention from Kraft, and their preferred styling is salad "frosting" (quotes around "frosting"), based on the expectation that parents will lie to their kids about what exactly salad “frosting” is, and because children can be pretty gullible.

Or, in the words of Sergio Eleuterio, Kraft’s head of marketing, “Innocent lies parents tell their kids help alleviate the pressures of everyday parenting, and if it gets kids to eat their greens, so be it.”

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Top Comment:
“I swear the worst part of being a parent is everything BUT the kids. Kraft needs to go suck on a bag of salad "frosting" for this one. UGH. You know how we get our 2 and 4 year old foster children to eat veggies? We make them tasty and serve them at mealtimes. We let them know that if you try something and don't like it, it's OK to spit it into a napkin and move on. No pressure, thank you for trying it! We serve the stuff they do like more frequently and let them make choices. We let them ask questions and try things as we're cooking. We show enthusiasm for tasty foods! This week alone they have eaten: zucchini, green beans, potatoes, cauliflower, cucumbers, bok choy, bell peppers, onions, broccoli, salad (from a bag...I'm not perfect), and carrots. We'll have fresh corn on the cob tonight with dinner. They also eat their weight in fresh fruit daily. Salad "frosting" is not necessary, not wanted, and part of the reason the rest of the world laughs at Americans who struggle to get their kids to eat real food. UGH! ”
— DocSharc
Comment

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention: The frosting is actually Kraft Classic Ranch Dressing in a tube.

According to a press release from Kraft, it’s all in the name of getting kids to eat more vegetables. “In fact, 63 percent of US parents admit to telling instrumental lies to get their kids to clean up their plates,” the release states, citing a 2012 study from the International Journal of Psychology. “Sometimes an innocent, smart lie is just the only way, especially as 75 percent of American kids eat salad only once a week,” the release continues, citing a trend report from the NPD Group.

Okay, I get it, sometimes it’s hard to get kids to eat their vegetables; it may even be a statistically significant reality. According to a study in the June 2017 issue of Pediatrics, which collected data on a single day, about 26 percent of 1-year-olds had eaten French fries the day before, while 7.5 percent had eaten dark green vegetables and about 17 percent deep yellow vegetables the day before. Furthermore, between 2005 and 2012, the consumption of dark green vegetables fell by more than 50 percent. According to a 2018 report from the CDC, “most US children do not meet national recommendations for fruit and vegetable servings.”

So what’s a parent to do (other than lie about salad dressing)? If you’re into a research-based approach, the CDC recommends increasing early access to fruits and vegetables, especially in schools, where children spend most of their days, and “hands-on learning experiences, [such as] farm visits, school gardens, and healthy cooking lessons.”

Somehow, pretending that ranch dressing is actually frosting strikes me as moving in the opposite direction from “hands-on learning experiences” and “healthy cooking lessons.” But I’m not a parent, so what do I know?

As you might imagine, news of Kraft’s latest innovation garnered some ... mixed reactions on Twitter, my favorite of which are below:

What do you think of salad "frosting" and lying? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Comment
Karen Lo

Written by: Karen Lo

lunch lady

26 Comments

dianne M. June 21, 2019
Yes, this is an abomination! But what I really want is the recipe to that beautiful vegetable dish displayed with this article. My mouth is watering.
 
Ashley W. June 21, 2019
Nothing like lying to your kids, amiright?!! But really, why the need for gimmicks and lies? When I was a kid, all you had to say was Ranch dressing and I was there! Maybe not Kraft (yuck!) but most kids can agree that Ranch dressing is yummy.
 
nana M. June 20, 2019
This must have been tried on kids or zoo animals somewhere before marketing. I can’t believe any mother would even buy it. They will eat salad eventually or. Maybe Not!
 
sharon June 20, 2019
after reading other comments- you all are spot on!!great comments - kids are not that picky.we always had a veg. garden in the midwest- we ate tomatoes ,cukes, peppers straight out of the garden, served them fresh.
 
sharon June 20, 2019
I am a mother and grandmother-i am saddened that kraft has pulled this marketing stunt.There are many vegs. and fruits for kids to eat-stop pandering so much.calling the product frosting is just stupid- calling it dressing-yes which it is.
 
olive June 20, 2019
How about the idea that the “frosting” is just a horrible product to begin with. I am gonna jump the gun here and suppose that it’s made with all sorts of junk that is ruining the nutritional value of the salad anyway. Corn starch, sugar, added preservatives, and various other crap our government supports as healthy food.
 
Pamela June 20, 2019
Foolish! Our children and grandchildren have always easily eaten fruits vegetables of all varieties. Perhaps it’s because that is how we eat!
 
Adrienne B. June 20, 2019
Here's the thing. When my mother and I were visiting with her friend, all the kids, me included, had to eat together earlier with different food. We stayed with her friend for a week and I was freaking out. My mother was a good cook and I always had what my parents were eating with my parents. I was used to having fiery enchiladas my father made and amazing salads with my mother's homemade blue cheese dressing. We had spent some time in Germany, too, so I was used to hot mustard and blood sausage. The little pasta that came in a can without even any cheese was more than I could bare.

My whole point is why feed kids separately? How are kids to develop tastes for different foods if they aren't exposed and afraid to try new things?

There are so many things wrong with this product:
1. It's only Ranch, and it's not even the original Hidden Valley, which tastes far superior to others. Variety?
2. It's plastic. More stuff to put in the giant floating islands of trash.
3. It's in tube which means a lot of it will never come out because it gets stuck the same way the last of the toothpaste does.

The only redeeming feature I can think of is this might be a good convenient way to take salad dressing on a picnic.
 
Karen A. June 20, 2019
I think this is a terrible idea! It’s not news that kids don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. Their parents probably don’t either. The reason is because parents allow them not to.
We were raised to eat what was placed before us. I raised my kids that way too. I had no picky eaters! It wasn’t allowed.
Grow up parents. You are the adults here!
 
Dawn C. June 16, 2019
WARNING! I'm going to be all "GET OFF OF MY LAWN" in this post. My opinions are not even considered due to my age, race, sex, and income level.
The lack of economic opportunity in the U.S.A. is at an ALL TIME LOW!
When I was growing up, a family could be supported on one income.
My Mom could stay at home and cook nutricious meal at home.
Fast food was a TREAT!
I don't blame families that feed their families on fast food because it's more economical than cooking at home.
 
DocSharc June 17, 2019
Your opinion is your own and I respect that...but it has nothing to do with this article. This article is about calling a tube of ranch dressing "frosting" because Kraft thinks kids are stupid, apparently.
 
Mary A. June 16, 2019
Whoever created this has never seen a kid eat all the frosting off of a cupcake and leave the cake behind.
 
creamtea June 16, 2019
There is so much wrong with this on so many levels.The assumption that your kids won't like vegetables creates kids who don't like vegetables. The assumption that your kids are picky eaters creates picky eaters. We never used that term. We had a salad with every meal with a simple homemade dressing, as well a vegetable, a main and a grain. We never needed Kraft to tell us how to eat.
 
Marsha M. June 16, 2019
Wow. Had anyone tried this on me I would have been deeply offended and trust in the person gone. As a child I generally disliked cooked vegetables, but would gleefully eat most raw. When my mom was cooking, she would casually offer me a bit of raw potato or pepper or whatever. No pressure, just a treat I saw her eating.
 
Cook June 15, 2019
The other thing that’s so wrong with this product is that it sends a confusing message to children about frosting, which should only be an occasional treat.
 
Monty June 14, 2019
All is lost!!
 
DocSharc June 14, 2019
I swear the worst part of being a parent is everything BUT the kids. Kraft needs to go suck on a bag of salad "frosting" for this one. UGH.

You know how we get our 2 and 4 year old foster children to eat veggies? We make them tasty and serve them at mealtimes. We let them know that if you try something and don't like it, it's OK to spit it into a napkin and move on. No pressure, thank you for trying it! We serve the stuff they do like more frequently and let them make choices. We let them ask questions and try things as we're cooking. We show enthusiasm for tasty foods!

This week alone they have eaten: zucchini, green beans, potatoes, cauliflower, cucumbers, bok choy, bell peppers, onions, broccoli, salad (from a bag...I'm not perfect), and carrots. We'll have fresh corn on the cob tonight with dinner. They also eat their weight in fresh fruit daily.

Salad "frosting" is not necessary, not wanted, and part of the reason the rest of the world laughs at Americans who struggle to get their kids to eat real food. UGH!
 
Dana E. June 17, 2019
Completely agree! I was a picky eater as a kid, and my parents just kept offering me new things. Give them the choice, and they will eventually try something new. My parent's persistence (and me falling in love with the Food Network), led me to try new things - not this gimmicky crap.
 
jackie D. June 14, 2019
I am simply amazed at how fruits and vegetables are such a demon for kids in the USA. I live in Italy and I can assure you most kids eat fruit and vegetables every day because they are simply brought on the table at almost every meal in one form or another.They are taught as small children that they are part of the meal and that's it. Sure, I myself have used tricks to make them eat some stuff ,but with a little fantasy in cooking, I can mightily say nothing as horrific as salad frosting. And I thought Michelle Obama had done a great job in waking up people's thoughts and habits on the matter with her fantastic teachings and examples. Obviously, there's still a lot Americans that have to learn , acknowledge and put to good practice.
 
Ashley W. June 21, 2019
I would have to say, as an American now living in another country, it’s not necessarily that we are completely ignorant about fruits and vegetables or that all children are adverse to them. I’m in my early thirties and grew up eating tons of fruits and veg, but also was allowed to have all of the crazy foods marketed towards kids in the 90’s. One of the main problems in America is that we just have SO many idiotic marketing schemes from so many different fast food chains and big name companies so of course they’re going to be on people’s minds. Here in the UK where I now live I can’t think of anything similar that I’ve seen. It’s sad because I can’t actually say I’ve ever heard one thing Michelle Obama has said about eating healthy and fitness, but I now know what salad “frosting” is.
 
BerryBaby June 14, 2019
This is a terrible idea. I can see them wanting to 'frost' cupcakes with this! What's next? Salad dressing in a squirt gun that kids squirt on? BB
 
Mardi M. June 13, 2019
I can't remember being more offended by a PR campaign than this one. I have been teaching cooking to elementary school kids for over 10 years in an (optional) extracurricular programme at an all boys' school and I can tell you that my students would be offended by this campaign (school's out so I can't ask them) because they are smart and they wouldn't be fooled by salad dressing in a mislabelled (non recyclable) package. I tweeted this to @KraftBrand:

"This is wrong on so many levels. Words matter. Truth matters. How about instead of telling lies “like a parent” we actually teach kids about nutrition and cooking and show them how to prepare vegetables so they taste good? And make their own dressing while we’re at it?" and they responded with:

"A little creative re-naming can help busy parents get veggies on the dinner table, especially with picky eaters!"

NO NO NO NO NO! Creative re-naming is just like alternative facts (aka lies) and I feel sad that they think kids are that stupid and that parents need to lower their expectations of their kids so low.

Whoever dreamt up this campaign obviously has never watched what magic actually happens when you TEACH KIDS TO COOK, not lie to them. My students LOVE working with veggies and whilst they might not love eating them all, exposing them to new foods is a surefire way to get them interested in trying them. This is an appalling campaign and encourages an unhealthy relationship with food from a young age (i.e. veggies are "yucky" and require something to make them taste good but let's not call it what it actually is...)

(ok, sorry, rant over!)
 
YumE June 13, 2019
I have parents often ask me how I got my children to love greens and other vegetables. I explain that I child is much more likely to enjoy eating greens and other healthy foods if you A) introduce those foods very early in their life (before outside forces start putting it in their head that greens and veggies are “yucky” and B) educate your child as to why it is so beneficial to eat them (how their body needs healthy food to work its best which then will allow them to feel their best and perform their best) and C) prepare it (with the help of your child if possible) in a creative new way that excites the child’s taste buds, while ensuring the final product remains healthy and packed with nutrients.