US: Kraft to remove artificial colourants from some Mac & Cheese products
Kraft plans to remove artificial colourants from three macaroni and cheese varieties that come in kid-friendly shapes. It says the revamped recipes aren’t a response to a petition on Change.org that asked it to remove artificial dyes from its famous macaroni and cheese kits. That petition, which was posted in March, had more than 348,000 signatures at the end of October.
The company said it plans to replace yellow dyes number 5 and 6 with spices such as paprika for colouring. The new recipes will also add whole grains and reduce the amount of sodium and saturated fat.
Ingredients in packaged food have come under greater scrutiny in recent years. People are increasingly trying to eat foods they feel are better for them, and big food makers are adjusting their offerings to keep pace.
In the meantime, smaller players such as Annie’s Homegrown, which makes a variety of macaroni and cheese, are getting more shelf space at the supermarket.
Earlier this year, PepsiCo also said it would remove a controversial ingredient from its Gatorade sports drink because of customer complaints. The move came after a petition by a Mississippi teenager on Change.org, although PepsiCo said the petition wasn’t what prompted its decision.
Triona Schmelter, Kraft Food Group’s vice president of marketing for meals, said the company was looking to improve the nutritional profiles of the three macaroni and cheese varieties more broadly. The new recipes will also add whole grains and reduce the amount of sodium and saturated fat, she said.
She declined to specify whether Kraft would eventually make similar changes to its other macaroni and cheese lines. But she noted the company already offers options that only use natural colours, such as several of its “Homestyle” varieties.
“We’ll continue to make improvement where we can,” Schmelter said, noting that the company tries to cater to evolving customer preferences.
Vani Hari, who started the petition on Change.org and runs the website FoodBabe.com, said she expects Kraft will remove artificial dyes from other products down the road.
“I knew all along that it wasn’t going to be an overnight change,” said Hari. “This is a big corporation, and this is one of their biggest products.”
Source: Associated Press
COMMENTARY: The dyes that bind us to Kraft
Back during the Civil War, when information moved slower and rumours took longer to be verified or denied, newspapers had a way of printing unsubstantiated news. They would designate the stories “Important, if true.”
Which brings us to last week’s earth-shattering news about Kraft Foods removing Yellow Dyes No. 5 and 6 from their iconic macaroni and cheese. In other words, the stuff in the bright blue box will no longer be quite so bright orange.
But only some of it. Kraft is only changing the formula for the varieties ones marketed specifically for younger eaters. According to the Associated Press, the noodle shapes to get the new recipe will be the SpongeBob SquarePants shapes, Halloween shapes, winter shapes, and two yet-to-be-introduced shapes.
The regular elbow-shaped macaroni, on which the brand was founded (and the only shape that can truly be called “macaroni”), will be unaffected by the change. It will be just as neon orange as it always has been. That has to be good news to virtually everyone in the country who has turned macaroni and cheese into a national culinary fetish….
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