A pillar of the cheese community is pivoting away from dairy for its newest product.
Joining forces with NotCo, a company that creates plant-based alternatives to animal-based food products using artificial intelligence, Kraft Heinz developed its first-ever plant-based mac and cheese in the U.S. The Kraft Heinz Not Company — the name of the joint venture — is calling the product “Kraft NotMac&Cheese.”
Kraft NotMac&Cheese will be available in Original and White Cheddar flavors and begin rolling out on shelves nationwide now through the beginning of 2024.
The company says this plant-based pasta product is the third innovation to launch in a year from its partnership with NotCo. A plant-based mayonnaise made with chickpea flour dubbed NotMayo was the first product launched by the pair in March. Then, in July, a trio of Kraft vegan cheeses in cheddar, provolone and American styles hit stores.
“The Kraft Heinz Not Company creates plant-based versions of fan-favorite foods that taste like the real thing, yet don’t require people to drastically change their eating habits,” said Lucho Lopez-May, Kraft Heinz Not Company’s CEO, in a press release. “NotCo brings its revolutionary AI technology that has a proven track record in creating mouthwatering plant-based foods to KRAFT — the beloved mac & cheese brand that sells over a million boxes every day. Leveraging the strengths of both companies, we’re offering the creamy and comforting experience KRAFT Mac & Cheese fans have loved for over 85 years — without the dairy.”
The Kraft Heinz Not Company says it will continue expanding its plant-based offerings into several more categories in 2024, both in the U.S. and internationally. Speaking of international markets, Kraft Heinz actually launched a vegan mac and cheese in Australia in 2021.
The Kraft brand has been on a journey of change for the past few years. In 2016, the brand changed its mac and cheese recipe, removing artificial preservatives and artificial dyes in favor of natural ingredients.
Then, in June 2022, it shortened the name of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese to simply “Kraft Mac & Cheese” to make it feel more “informal and familiar.” More recently, in May 2023, Kraft Singles got a makeover, including a new logo, look and easier-to-open packaging.