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Mac and cheese – hold the preservatives please

May 12, 2015

Kraft Foods Group has recently announced that it is making a huge change the recipe of its iconic Macaroni and Cheese products. Taking a step away from synthetic ingredients, Mac & Cheese will no longer be made using artificial colours or preservatives. The company has announced that to achieve its signature colour, the products will instead be made using natural ingredients – turmeric, annatto and paprika.

Why the change?

By moving towards the use of natural ingredients, Kraft is following the example of many other food manufacturers. Reportedly, one reason for the change is a recent fall in sales, which the company has blamed on their customers’ growing desire to purchase more organic and less processed foods.

Consumer advocacy groups have supposedly been campaigning to Kraft that they rid their products of artificial food dyes, which are apparently banned in other countries. Spokeswoman for Kraft, Lynne Galia, said that it was concerns from consumers that had originally prompted the changes. “We know parents want to feel good about the foods they eat and serve their families,” she added.

Making such a drastic change to the recipe of an American staple could no doubt cause the company to lose many currently satisfied customers – customers that might not be as concerned about artificial additives. However Kraft seems convinced that the flavour of their new Macaroni & Cheese products will not disappoint.

“We weren’t ready to change the product until we were confident that Kraft Macaroni & Cheese tastes like Kraft Macaroni & Cheese,” the company said.

What does this mean for the industry?

Experts believe that this is a positive step in favour of a healthier option. “The announcement from Kraft should be a wake-up call for other food manufacturers to take notice, go back to the drawing board, reformulate and get rid of these synthetic ingredients of concern, especially in food that is marketed to children,” said Heather White, Executive Director of the Environmental Working Group.

While the new Mac & Cheese will go artificial-free in January of next year, Kraft has also announced that other Mac & Cheese products, such as Premium Flavours, Easy Mac and Original Cups will also be free from preservatives and artificial colours and flavours later in the year.

However, the company announced that the changes will only be introduced in the US and Canada in 2016. The rest of the world will have to wait for an announcement on when, and if, the changes will be made around the rest of the world.