Some things on this Earth are constant: The sky is a deep azure blue (unless you live in Los Angeles). The grass is a verdant green (unless you live in Los Angeles). And Kraft Macaroni And Cheese is a bright neon orange—an orange the color of radiation suits and safety cones, so you know to take precaution around it. But it seems all of that is changing. Kraft has announced that it will remove the artificial preservatives and synthetic colors from its beloved bowls of artificial preservatives and synthetic colors, a change that promises to take away the familiar yellow-orange tint you sort-of glimpse out of your peripheral vision, as you’re numbly shoving it into your face. As the saying goes, nothing vaguely gold can stay.
“Consumers have been telling us, and parents in particular, that they want to feel good about the foods that they eat and that they serve their families,” said Kraft’s vice president of marketing Triona Schmelter, of America’s many liars. However, these consumers’ insistence that the cheap prepackaged foods they purchase to put in their bodies, quickly and without forethought, just be made better somehow—including “more protein, calcium, and whole grains”—naturally came with a caveat.
“The one thing they are most adamant about is they absolutely don’t want us to change the taste,” Schmelter adds. And rather than double over laughing at the futility of pleasing a public who demands their hillocks of schmelted cheese be “healthy,” Kraft actually went and did something about it.
No, not adding more protein, calcium, or whole grains, or making a food that could be legally called “cheese” instead of a “cheese product.” Kraft isn’t running a hippie co-op here. Instead, it’s just going to remove Yellows No. 5 and 6, the dyes that give its mac ’n’ cheese the blazing hue that’s visible from all the way across your kitchens and colonoscopies.
Beginning in early 2016, the company will replace them with “paprika, annatto, and turmeric,” which are natural flavors that it hopes will be enough to mimic the unnatural color and taste that has become such a familiar part of what could loosely be called meals. It’s a move toward simplification of this already-simple pasta-and-cheese combination, which will now have at least three more natural things in its 20 or so ingredients.
For those lamenting the change, rest assured that Kraft Singles will still be made out of old shower curtains.