Bending to continued consumer pressure for ingredient transparency, Kraft Foods announced that beginning in January 2016, Original Kraft Macaroni & Cheese sold in the United States no longer will be made with artificial preservatives or synthetic colors, and Kraft Dinner (KD) in Canada will remove synthetic colors by the end of 2016 in Kraft Dinner Original.
Synthetic colors will be replaced 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 address clean-label demands from 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 & Cheeseand neither will we. That's why we've been working tirelessly to find the right recipe that our fans will love."
The use of synthetic colors in food and beverage products has been a hot-button issue for decades ever since the 2007 the University of Southampton’s study that linked food colors to hyperactivity in children. The study’s results eventually were found to be lackluster by the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food that released an opinion to not banning the colors and preservative in question.
In the United States, the issue was pressed again in 2013 by two North Carolina moms, both food bloggers, who started a Change.org petition requesting Kraft take yellow dye 5 and yellow dye 6 out of its Mac and Cheese. More than 348,000 health advocates, consumers and families signed the petition that was delivered to Kraft’s headquarters. In an e-mail to Food Product Design, Kraft Foods Spokesperson Lynne Galia said the company remained committed to offering choices and pointed out that Kraft offers 14 varieties of Mac & Cheese with natural colors or no colors at all.
In October 2013, Kraft announced plans to remove artificial yellow dyes from at least three of its kid-friendly Macaroni & Cheese products in the United States and Canada.
In February 2014, Kraft announced it would remove artificial preservatives from its Kraft Singles full-fat American and White American varieties of individually wrapped cheese slices. The company debuted its new Kraft Singles with No Artificial Preservatives that replaced sorbic acid with the natural preservative natamycin.