US sauce and dip manufacturer Walden Farms has patented a process for preparing fat-free, calorie-free food dressings. The invention comes in response to a rise in demand for salad dressings that are as healthy as the salad they are dressing. Walden Farms stated that many consumers attempting to keep their weight down or maintain a good physique rely on salads, but many of dressings available are high in sugar or carbohydrate, so even fat-free dressings can be high in calories. This invention aims to address this imbalance.

Protected under US patent number 6,245,372, the abstract reads:

A process for preparing a fat free, calorie free food dressing includes combining flavors with spices and herbs and an acetic acid solution in a first container which is subsequently heated to destroy bacteria. Water, a sugar substitute, gums and a thickening agent are combined in a second container to form a second mixture. The water in the second mixture is chilled below ambient and filtered to remove substantially any contaminants therefrom. The chilled water prevents degradation of the sugar substitute during the manufacturing process. The two mixtures are combined and cooled to ambient temperature to form a finished food dressing.

The first claim (of 23) is for:

A process for preparing a food dressing containing a sugar substitute, said process comprising the steps of preparing a first mixture of food dressing ingredients, preparing a chilled second mixture of food dressing ingredients containing a sugar substitute and water at a first temperature below ambient temperature; heating said first mixture to a second temperature higher than room temperature and sufficient to substantially sterilise said first mixture, and combining the heated first mixture with the chilled second mixture to provide a food dressing at a third temperature lower than said second temperature which substantially prevents degradation of said sugar substitute, wherein said third temperature is less than about 80°F.

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