Kraft Heinz has been duping US customers into eating natural mac and cheese for the last three months.
The big-food brand said it eliminated artificial ingredients from its iconic mac-and-cheese recipe in December 2015, and claims customers were none the wiser. Kraft swapped out the artificial dyes that gave the boxed pasta its classic, dayglo hue, for spices like turmeric, paprika, and annatto, and removed artificial flavors and preservatives.
Plans to tinker with the processed-food recipe were announced last April in an effort to compete with healthier mac-and-cheese brands and silence critics who oppose artificial dyes. Not everyone was thrilled:
The Chicago, Illinois-based company bet that the new recipe tasted so much like the original that no one would notice. Other than in the ingredients list, it didn’t advertise the changes on the blue box when the new formula hit US shelves in December.
Kraft said it sold 50 million boxes of the reformulated mac and cheese and heard nothing from customers. The company publicly unveiled the new recipe today (Mar. 7) in a new brand campaign touting the product’s natural ingredients and unconventional rollout, starring former Daily Show host Craig Kilborn.
“We’d invite Americans to try our new recipe, but they most likely already have,” Gregory Guidotti, vice president of meals at Kraft Heinz, said in a statement.