Hidden Valley Ranch, your pour spouts SUCK!

I try not to have too many “rant” style posts. I’m not into creating controversy to garner views. Occasionally I will call out a company for missing the mark so widely that I am amazed at how bad their product is. But, in general, I like to stay upbeat. Hidden Valley, however, is making it hard to stay upbeat about their ranch dressing.


I happen to enjoy Hidden Valley Ranch’s flavor. I think they nailed the formula for what is possibly the most unhealthy salad topping ever made. Their recipe is perfect. It’s thick, creamy, delicious, and goes good on pretty much everything. So I find it so hard to understand how they can have such great food engineering and such garbage container engineering going on under the same roof!

I want to point you to, what I call, the pour spout.

Hidden Valley Ranch pour spout

The pour spout is not part of the cap, as with Heinz Ketchup or French’s Mustard. It’s part of the plastic bottle. I never have a problem with pour spouts that are integrated into the cap. The worst case scenario there is that the cap can break off from having a flimsy hinge. Other than that, integrated pour spouts are great. You can easily remove the cap and pour spout if you need to get into the bottle. It allows you to easily pour a fine stream of condiment; and full access to the main bottle. It’s the best of both worlds.

For some reason, the Hidden Valley Ranch folks thought it would be best to have the cap be separate from the pour spout. In theory, this should mean that when you remove the cap, the pour spout remains part of the bottle. In actuality, it means that when you remove the cap, it will secretly take the pour spout with it, hiding it from you in hopes that you will unwittingly douse your salad with ranch dressing. Either that, or the spout will sit partially-seated in the bottle until pour time, and then fall out on the plate next to your chicken strips along with a puddle of ranch.

A simple fix

The solution seems simple to me. Glue the stupid spout to the bottle with some food-grade adhesive. I really don’t ever not want it there. I literally have never said, “I could really use a torrent of ranch dressing right now. Hurry up!!”. But I have, over the years, accidentally poured thousands-of-calories worth of unintended dressing on my plate. This isn’t an isolated incident. This has happened to dozens of bottles over the years. Just when I think they have solved the problem, Boom, ranch deluge.

This problem is infamous among my family members. It is common in our home to hear a courtesy call, such as “watch out for the ranch, the spout is loose again”. We buy from a variety of vendors and the problem doesn’t seem to be specific to any particular one. I wonder if the whole thing is a ploy from Hidden Valley to make customers run out of ranch prematurely. Thus, we would need to purchase their product more frequently.

What about you? I know we can’t be alone in this. Have you experienced the faulty pour spout ranch flood? What do you do with the excess ranch that spills out?


  1. I totally agree with you about the pour spouts in general. I would just like to find a company that still uses them! It seems like EVERY bottle of salad dressing I buy lately just has an open top with NO pour spout at all of either kind. Did companies just stop using them or can individual stores request leaving them off so they can pay less and thus sell them for less? I live in MA and have been shopping at Stop and Shop and none of the brands seem to have either type of top any more just an open top bottle. I have wasted SO much salad dressing lately!

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