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Kraft to remove artificial colours & flavours from flagship Mac & Cheese

The US food giant Kraft, recently bought by and merged with Heinz in the world’s largest food deal ever, has announced its iconic Mac & Cheese will no longer be made with artificial preservatives or synthetic colours.

The reformulated foods, including its Original Kraft Macaroni & Cheese in the US and Kraft Dinner (KD) Original in Canada will remove synthetic colours by the end of next year.

Kraft will replace the synthetic colours with those derived from natural sources like paprika, annatto and turmeric.

“These recipe changes are the latest steps in the Kraft Mac & Cheese journey to delight consumers with on-trend updates to meet consumers’ changing lifestyles and needs,” says a company press release.

“We’ve met with families in their homes and watched them prepare Kraft Mac & Cheese in their kitchens. They told us they want to feel good about the foods they eat and serve their families, including everything from improved nutrition to simpler ingredients,” said Triona Schmelter, VP of Marketing, Meals.  “They also told us they won’t compromise on the taste of their Mac & Cheese – and neither will we. That’s why we’ve been working tirelessly to find the right recipe that our fans will love.

“Listening, extensive research and continuous improvement have been part of the Kraft Mac & Cheese 75-year heritage. From packaging like convenient Cups to products like Deluxe, Organic and Whole Grain to light prep instructions, we’ve innovated this iconic brand through the years to remain North America’s favorite Mac & Cheese,” said Schmelter.

The consumer lobby group, the CSPI welcomed the move. “As consumers increasingly try to find dye-free foods, it’s increasingly going to be in the economic self-interest of Kraft and other food manufacturers to get rid of artificial dyes. Kraft’s Macaroni and Cheese isn’t a health food. But replacing its Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 with natural colorings is a step in the right direction that will help families with children avoid the hyperactivity and other behavioral problems triggered or exacerbated by the chemicals.”

“Of course the FDA could solve this problem quite quickly, and in a way that levels the playing field for all companies. It could, as CSPI has petitioned the agency to do, prohibit the use of artificial food dyes altogether. European regulators solved most of the problem with a warning label. Given the well-documented harm that dyes cause, and given that they serve only a cosmetic purpose, why put any consumers at risk?”

Related reading:

Kraft Mac & Cheese just got duller after Food Babe declares victory vs harmful additives
The Independent – Food blogger, Food Babe, has declared victory after Kraft announced it would remove synthetic dyes and preservatives from its Macaroni & Cheese by 2016 in a bid to appeal to more health conscious consumers. A Kraft spokeswoman told Reuters that the decision was directly linked to pressure from consumers for better nutrition.

“We know parents want to feel good about the foods they eat and serve their families,” she said.

Food Babe Vani Hari celebrated the removal of additives called Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 that have been linked to carcinogens, which cause cancer, and increased hyperactivity in children. “The thousands of letters I have received from parents whose children have benefited from the removal of artificial food dyes are ringing in my ear this morning. We finally did it,” Hari said. Read more
COMMENT by Bob Messenger, editor of The Morning Cup: “Well, heck, she’s right, Kraft did bend to her pressure. Now the question is, how will removing these dyes and preservatives change the perception of a popular brand item with its consumers? I’m no Vani Hari fan, but it’s clear Kraft wanted no part of her tirades against the company and decided to just go along. The real test comes when I try to feed my grandkids the reformulated Mac & Cheese. Will they notice?”

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