Kraft removing synthetic colors from iconic macaroni & cheese

Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:39pm EDT
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By Carey Gillam

April 20 (Reuters) - Kraft Foods Group Inc on Monday said it is revamping its family-friendly macaroni and cheese meal, removing synthetic colors and preservatives from the popular boxed dinner.

The move comes at a time when Kraft is battling sluggish demand as consumers shift to brands that are perceived as healthier, including foods that are organic or less processed. The company has also been targeted by consumer advocacy groups, pressuring it to remove the artificial food dyes from its products.

Kraft spokeswoman Lynne Galia said the changes were being made to address concerns expressed by consumers, including demands for improved nutrition and "simpler ingredients."

"We know parents want to feel good about the foods they eat and serve their families," Galia said in an emailed statement about the changes to its macaroni and cheese product.

Galia said the changes will be effective by January 2016 for "Original Kraft Macaroni & Cheese" in the United States. The company is also removing synthetic colors by the end of 2016 in Canada for its Kraft Dinner Original.

In 2014, Kraft launched its Mac & Cheese Boxed Shapes with no synthetic colors, and in January of this year, the Northfield, Illinois-based company moved to no artificial preservatives for the Boxed Shapes product in the United States, the company said.

Kraft also said it is replacing synthetic colors with those derived from natural sources, like paprika, annatto and turmeric.

Kraft Foods is one of North America's largest consumer packaged food and beverage companies, with annual revenues of more than $18 billion. Its brands include Capri Sun, JELL-O, Kool-Aid, Lunchables, Maxwell House and Oscar Mayer. (Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City, Mo., additional reporting by Anjali Athavaley in New York; editing by G Crosse)