Kraft Removing Artificial Dyes, Preservatives from Macaroni and Cheese

Kraft Removing Artificial Dyes, Preservatives from Macaroni and Cheese. Kraft

Mealtimes just got a little less orange. Kraft Foods has announced that they are changing the recipe of its iconic Macaroni & Cheese, eliminating synthetic colors and artificial preservatives in early 2016 for consumers in the United States, and by the end of 2016 for consumers in Canada.

"Starting in January 2016, Original Kraft Macaroni & Cheese in the U.S. will no longer be made with artificial preservatives or synthetic colors, while still delivering the same great taste that people know and love from the iconic 'blue box,'" the company said in a press release. The popular dinner's color and flavor will now come from instead, spices such as 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."

Kraft says that the product will look and taste the same as the original.

"Listening, extensive research and continuous improvement have been part of the Kraft Mac & Cheese 75-year heritage.  From packaging such as 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.

Taking some of the credit for the change in the recipe is blogger, Vani Hari, also known as The Food Babe. Hari created a petition on that had over 360,000 signatures, asking Kraft to "all dangerous artificial food dyes from their line of macaroni and cheese."

From the petition:

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in the US contains the artificial food dyes Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. These unnecessary – yet potentially harmful - dyes are not in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in other countries, including the UK, because they were removed due to consumer outcry. Kraft reformulated their product for the UK, but not for their fellow American citizens.

After the announcement from Kraft, Hari posted: "We did it! Kraft is removing all artificial food dye from every kind of their mac & cheese by 2016. Millions of families across the United States and Canada will finally get the same safer versions that have been available in Europe for years. The double standard is finally ending for one iconic product and hopefully several more. A million boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese are sold every day – that’s a lot of artificial food dye finally being eliminated from the North American food supply. We have a lot more work to do in this area but we are making some serious progress."

Michael Jacobson, executive director at the Center for Science, told USA Today, that Hari's petition and activism definitely had an impact on the change.

"This sends a signal to American companies that food dyes are from the 1950s and people want more natural foods," he told the publication.

In the press release, Kraft said the move to the new recipe has been in the works for a while, and was the result of thoughtful research, as well as talking to their consumers.

"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, Vice President 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."

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