Are you a dipper, topper, or a mixer? When it comes to salad dressings, a recent Market Facts survey for the Association for Dressings & Sauces says, the way you use salad dressing says a lot about your personality. For example, people who dip their greens into their salad dressing, “dippers,” rate themselves as being more spontaneous and outgoing than “mixers,” those who mix their dressing throughout their salad. Mixers see themselves as more sociable than “toppers,” people who simply dump their dressing on top of their greens and go at it. Toppers, however, tend to be more shy than their mixing and dipping counterparts. The Market Facts survey shows that a whopping 49.5 percent of those surveyed are mixers, 37 percent are toppers, and only 10.9 percent are dippers.

The frequency of eating salads also gives clues about your personality type: Those who eat salads at least once a week consider themselves more trustworthy than those who never eat salads. Heavy salad eaters (those who eat salads five or more times a week) are less shy than those who eat salads less often. People who consume salads at least once a week consider themselves more trustworthy than those who never eat salads. Also telling is at which meals you consume salad and what else you eat with your salad. Eat a salad as your main meal at lunch? You think you are more intelligent than those who just eat a side salad at lunch. Those who consider themselves athletic do not eat salads as their main meal at dinner.

But enough about personality: regional differences are also apparent in this survey. For example, Southerners prefer Thousand Island dressing, Midwesterners choose French dressing above all others, and those who live in the Northeast prefer Italian dressing. People who live in the West aren’t as likely to be “mixers” as much as people in other parts of the country, but they are the most likely to use salad dressings as dips for vegetables or chips. They are also most likely to use salad dressing in tuna, turkey or chicken salad.

Gender and age also play a role in salad eating: men are more likely to be toppers and the majority of women are mixers. Seniors (those 55 years and older) eat salads more frequently (3.9 times per week) than the average American and much more frequently than the Generation X’er (ages 18-34) at 2.8 times per week.

Other salad dressing facts about people who are heavy salad eaters (those who eat salads 5 or more times per week):

Italian is the number one dressing choice, followed by Ranch and then Blue Cheese.

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They like to make their salads from scratch-more than 73 percent purchase ingredients and make the salads themselves; only 20 percent buy the prebagged salads.

They don’t like to have any lettuce go un-touched by the dressing: nearly half (48 percent) like to evenly mix the dressing throughout the salad before eating.

Higher-frequency salad eaters have higher household incomes and are more likely to own their own homes.

“Dipping” is an upscale phenomenon: more than 82 percent of dippers own their own homes and almost 70 percent have completed college.
The survey findings are based on a nationally projectable sample of 1,000 individuals age 18 and older. The survey was conducted in March 2000 by Market Facts, Inc./TeleNation for the Association for Dressings & Sauces, an international trade association of salad dressing, mayonnaise, mustard and other condiment sauce manufacturers and their suppliers. More information is available on the Association for Dressings & Sauces Web site,