Here at Fooducate HQ, salad dressing is never store-bought. If the veggies are fresh and tasty, all you really need is a bit of olive oil, lemon juice and salt to enjoy. But alas, US supermarkets dedicate entire aisles to dressings. Manufacturers must know something we don’t.
We were recently pitched for a new salad dressing by Bolthouse Farms, a subsidiary of the Campbell Soup Company. Bolthouse, famous for its juices, is a vertically integrated farm company, growing the carrots and also making the juice. A few years ago it expanded into salad dressings. Companies must grow grow grow, and Bolthouse Farms is no different.
We like avocados, so the new Cilantro Avocado Yogurt Dressing looked interesting. Here is the marketing pitch to consumers from the Bolthouse Farms website:
Cilantro? Check. Creamy Avocado? Check. Cotija cheese? Well, you get the idea. You’re probably thinking all these yummy ingredients add up to a lot of calories. Think again. At just 40 calories per serving, you earn the right to go back for seconds. Even thirds. But after that, we’ll have to cut you off.
A serving is 2 tablespoons. Do you want to know why there are only 40 calories per serving? The first ingredient is water. Yes, watering down any food is a great way to reduce the calorie count. Here is the full ingredient list:
INGREDIENTS: WATER, BUTTERMILK (CULTURED NONFAT MILK, MILK, SODIUM CITRATE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE), YOGURT (CULTURED PASTEURIZED GRADE A MILK, NONFAT MILK, PECTIN, CARRAGEENAN), COTIJA CHEESE, SOYBEAN OIL, ACID REDUCED PINEAPPLE JUICE CONCENTRATE , WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, ONION PUREE, DISTILLED VINEGAR, POBLANO PEPPER, AVOCADO, CILANTRO, SALT, EGG YOLK, XANTHAN GUM, LIME JUICE, GARLIC PUREE, ONION POWDER, BLACK PEPPER, NATURAL FLAVOR, CUMIN, SPICE (MUSTARD SEED), FRUIT JUICE CONCENTRATE BLEND (WATERMELON AND HUITO FOR COLOR), TURMERIC EXTRACT (FOR COLOR)
For the most part, ingredients here are straightforward, but There are a few more ingredients here that raise an eyebrow:
- CARRAGEENAN – used to make the dressing seem less liquid than it actually is.
- XANTHAN GUM – used to keep the fat and water mixed together
- WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE – why add it?
- SOYBEAN OIL – likely GMO.
This may not be a terrible dressing, but it’s certainly superfluous. Make your own creamy dressing by pulsing plain yogurt with avocado, cilantro, and spices.