Blake Lively is one famous actress who’s been open about her love of cheesy and comforting Kraft Dinner. Drew Barrymore is also a big fan. You definitely don’t need to be a big star to enjoy this affordable and familiar treat. It’s a convenient option for so many people from all walks of life, from cash-strapped college students to busy professionals and beyond. Today, we’re going to uncover the top 10 untold truths about Kraft Dinner. Once you’ve gotten the inside scoop on this classic American food product, you may find yourself craving a big bowl of Kraft’s iconic macaroni with cheese sauce. Whether you prepare Kraft Dinner according to the package directions, or modify the basic recipe to create a whole new flavor profile, you’ll find that this meal is filling and very cost-effective. While Kraft Dinner has its critics, the Kraft company sells a million boxes of the stuff each and every day. This is a boxed dinner that people want to eat.
10. It’s Been Around Since 1937
This boxed dinner doubles as a lunch or snack and it’s been around since 1937. Before it was available for sale, processed cheese had to be invented. Cheese is processed with salts that emulsify and this allows the cheese to stay fresh for much longer. Once the processing of cheese was possible, a man named James Lewis Kraft, who lived in Chicago, was awarded a patent for his own clever cheese processing method. This happened in 1916. After he got the patent, he launched a cheese enterprise. Kraft wanted to reduce waste, because cheddar cheese of that era had an extremely short shelf life. His new process helped people to enjoy cheddar taste, without the fast spoilage problem.
While the Great Depression was happening, Kraft heard about a salesman who was travelling from door to door, selling macaroni and a package of Kraft powdered cheese mix. Kraft contacted the salesman, did a deal and started marketing the product as Kraft Dinner. In 1937, the first Kraft mac and cheese product was available commercially, in America, as well as Canada. One fun fact is that James Lewis Kraft was born in Ontario, Canada. When it was introduced, this product featured a very long shelf life. It would remain edible and unspoiled for a full ten months. Since many people didn’t own fridges back then, the long shelf life of the macaroni and cheese product was very appealing.
9. The Cheese Packet Used To Be Attached To The Box With An Elastic Band
It’s always fascinating to delve into the background of a really good idea. With Kraft Dinner, the idea needed a little tweaking. At first, a St. Louis salesman went from door to door, selling the dried pasta, along with a Kraft powdered cheese sauce mix that was attached to the pasta box with a simple rubber band. He was so close to the Kraft Dinner concept that we know and love today, but needed to evolve his idea just a little. The founder of the Kraft company connected with the salesman and they tweaked the concept. This was when it was decided that the cheese sauce packet should go inside of the box.
This simple change marked the inception of one of the world’s most beloved packaged food products. Unfortunately, this salesman doesn’t get the same acclaim that James Lewis Kraft does, but his clever methods of packaging and selling pasta and cheese sauce mix are worthy of attention and praise. Once the sauce packet was inside of the box, the perfect product was born. It was compact, convenient and simple to use. It filled a need in the marketplace. At the time, it was very innovative. Kraft had an inventive mind and used it to earn a processed cheese patent. The St. Louis salesman was likewise ingenious, and came up with unique packaging that made Kraft Dinner very easy to sell.
8. It Was Very Popular During World War II
Kraft is a company that’s produced some beloved products, including Kraft Dinner and Velveeta Cheese. During World War II, the popularity of Kraft’s product line skyrocketed. Kraft Dinner was the most popular of them all, with fifty million boxes sold. During the war, food ration stamps were given out and Americans were able to grab a couple of boxes of KD with single ration stamps. They got filling food without needing to use more than one stamp. The desire to get more satisfying food for fewer ration stamps fueled the incredible popularity of Kraft Dinner during wartime. Today, Kraft Dinner is still world-renowned for its affordability. It’s a packaged food product that isn’t out of reach to most people. It’s not an elitist product. It’s for the masses and people from many different income levels enjoy it, although those with the least money may appreciate it the most, because it is just so reasonably-priced.
7. Canadians Love It The Most
Residents of the Great White North are really into Kraft Dinner. It’s an adored staple in Canadian households. In Canada, 1.7 million boxes of the stuff are sold every week, out of seven million boxes sold globally per week. Each Canadian consumes, on average, 3.2 boxes of KD annually. This means that Canadians consume fifty-five percent more Kraft Dinner than their USA counterparts.
So, why is the product so popular in Canada? Well, it might be because Kraft is such a trusted company there. Kraft produces lots of food products that Canadians love and believe in. For example, Canadians are big fans of Kraft Peanut Butter, which features two cute teddy bears on every plastic jar. Cracker Barrel Cheese also comes from Kraft and it’s a Canadian favorite. Canucks may also love Kraft Dinner because it’s cheap. Plus, it’s served hot, and hot food is comfort food during frosty Canadian winters. Overall, the popularity of KD in Canada is really a bit of a mystery. It’s a Canadian standard, like Poutine, which is made from cheese curds, gravy and French Fries. Canadians clearly like their comfort food cheesy and Kraft Dinner does deliver tons of creamy, cheesy taste.
6. It Contains Phthalates
Processed cheese is more likely to contain phthalates than non-processed cheese. Kraft Dinner contains processed cheese and always has. A New York Times story from 2017 referenced a study that found phthalates in a variety of brand-name macaroni and cheese products, including Kraft Dinner. Some people are worried about phthalates because they may have a negative impact on androgen hormones, including testosterone, and because there is a connection between birth defects in baby boys and pthalates. Another issue is the fact that phthalates have been linked with behavioral and learning problems in older kids. These types of chemicals aren’t supposed to be good for young kids or pregnant women, either, but the FDA hasn’t banned them yet, and may never ban them. If you’re concerned about these chemicals, you’ll benefit from knowing that traces of them may be found in boxes of KD. Knowing the risks will give you the power to make a wise and informed decision about whether or not Kraft Dinner is a good choice in your daily diet, and the daily diets of your children, if you have them.
5. 22 Different Varieties Are Available
If you want Kraft Dinner in Original Flavor, it’s easy to find, but you definitely have other options. Kraft Dinner comes in a whopping twenty-two varieties, so there’s something to suit every macaroni and cheese fan’s taste buds. Go for White Cheddar and Bacon, Four Cheese or Cheddar Broccoli Cheese. This just scratches the surface. This company keeps evolving by offering customers new taste formulations and new pasta shape options. The company currently has three categories of Kraft Dinner. The categories are Blue Box, Microwaveable and Deluxe. By branching out and offering new flavors and textures, the team at Kraft give customers the power to experiment and find the KD formulas that they love the most. Cartoon-shaped noodles, such as Spongebob Squarepants-shaped macaroni, have also appeared on store shelves, and this type of KD is so much fun for kids.
4. It Has 1200 Calories a Box
KD has four hundred calories per serving and three servings per box. If you prepare the mac and cheese as directed, with lower-fat milk and margarine, and then eat the whole box, you’ll take in twelve hundred calories. A typical supper has less calories than that, so it’s a high-calorie choice for a main meal. When you eat a single serving, you’ll take in less calories than a typical supper. If you struggle with portion control, share your box of Kraft dinner with a child, partner or friend. If you’re going to eat the whole box by yourself, balance out the indulgence by eating some lighter meals afterwards.
Kraft Dinner is meant to be filling and have calories. It was designed to help people who didn’t have a lot of money to feel satisfied. In terms of nutrition, Kraft Dinner contains protein, which is fuel for muscles. When you eat a serving of KD, you’ll access ten protein grams, which is thirteen percent of the recommended daily amount of protein. Each serving of Kraft Dinner contains 8.5 grams of fat. Kraft Dinner contains quite a bit of sodium. The sodium count for a serving of KD is 710 milligrams. That’s thirty percent of the recommended daily allotment for sodium. Kraft Dinner does contain some valuable nutrients, including Vitamin A, calcium and iron.
Kraft Dinner is great, but it should be part of a varied diet. It shouldn’t be a main meal choice all of the time. When eaten in moderation, it offers nutritional value and calories. It’s also filling enough to make people feel satisfied, even though it’s such a cheap meal option. One Canadian teacher received a complaint from Kraft because he kept mentioning Kraft Dinner during a healthy eating class. He also named his class, Kick the KD, and then had to change the name, because the name is trademarked. He did stop mentioning the product in class, in addition to changing the title, because he didn’t want legal hassles from Kraft Canada.
3. Breaking records with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
Ever since the rise in popularity of Kraft Mac and cheese, people have probably been trying to outdo each other in seeing how fast one could polish off a whole box. No more so than now, in the internet age, has the gauntlet been thrown down and challenges met when it come to breaking Kraft Mac and Cheese speed eating records. How fast could you wolf down an entire box of Kraft Mac and Cheese? Well the current record stands at 30.50 seconds. This sounds impossible, but it was done, according to Recordsetter.com. This type of speed eating isn’t healthy. It’s actually really unsafe, so don’t try this at home. Savor your macaroni and cheese slowly.
Some contests are about quantity, versus speed. For example, there are Kraft Mac and Cheese challenges out there online that feature people who sit down to eat four or five boxes of the stuff in single sittings. That’s a crazy amount of Kraft Mac and Cheese to eat in one sitting. No matter how much you love this classic American mac and cheese product, you shouldn’t overdo it like that. Binge-eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is probably going to leave you feeling sick and bloated. Kraft Mac and Cheese eating contests aren’t sponsored by Kraft.
2. Bacon Is a Popular Add-On
We live in a world where people love putting their meals on Instagram, or recording themselves while they prepare food. We all get hungry, so interest in food is universal. When it comes to KD, people love to modify the recipe, by personalizing it with their own add-ons. The most popular add-on for KD is bacon. A little bacon adds a ton of taste and also ups the protein gram count. Bacon isn’t the healthiest protein around, but substituting turkey bacon, which is better for you, will be a great way to get taste that’s very similar.
Kraft Dinner is a savory food and it’s easy to pump up its taste and texture with choppe veggies, condiments and spices. People at Reddit have weighed in on their fave add-ons. Aside from bacon, they love adding French Fries to their KD. I guess this gives a poutine-like effect, because KD has such a cheesy taste. Another gourmet twist on classic KD is the addition of sausage and apples. Some people prefer to keep it simple by boosting the heat level of KD by adding hot pepper sauce or cayenne pepper. Sliced or chopped jalapenos serve the same purpose, and also add a bit of crunch. Adding figs or tuna to KD is also recommended. The next time you whip up a batch of KD, take a look around your kitchen. See what ingredients you have on hand which may turn your Kraft Dinner into a gourmet meal. You don’t need to use the same add-ons that other people use. You can create your own original KD creation.
1. Customers Didn’t Notice Ingredient Changes in 2016
KD may taste much the same as it always has, but the ingredients in boxes of Kraft Dinner changed during 2016. The truth is that hardly anyone noticed. Business kept booming as usual. The distinctive blue boxes continued to fly off of store shelves. Kraft was trying to make its macaroni and cheese healthier. It took away some bad stuff, including dyes, preservatives and artificial flavors. This is good news for KD fans. The team at KD didn’t advertise the changes. They initiated the changes and then watched and waited. People didn’t really realize that their KD was being colored with spices, rather than Yellow Number Five dye. The company kept selling the same amount of KD as it had beforehand. This next-gen Kraft Dinner was better for customers. To keep the garish neon effect of the cheese mix, the company subbed its usual yelllow dye for annato, turmeric and paprika. Kraft knows that a lot of customers these days want food that is more natural. They are listening to their customers and making changes.
Now that you know more the 10 untold truths of KD, isn’t it time to treat yourself to a box. You should be able to grab a box with the spare change in your boxes. You won’t even have to pull out your debit card or credit card. Since 1937, this classic American packaged food has helped people to feel full, fast, as they enjoy tender macaroni and cheesy sauce. Kraft Dinner is a part of popular culture and probably always will be, even if it changes a bit over the decades.