An American pantry staple is listening to the zeitgeist by pressing backspace on its popular powdered cheesy pasta product.
Kraft Foods is shortening the name of its Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in a new revamp of the product, the brand announced Wednesday. By removing a few letters, the 85-year-old boxed macaroni and cheese product will now henceforth be known simply as "Kraft Mac & Cheese." Our beloved “aroni,” we hardly knew ye.
"The change from 'macaroni and cheese' to 'mac & cheese,' is meant to reflect the way fans organically talk about the brand," the company wrote in a press release.
In addition to the shortening of the quick-cook pasta’s name, Kraft Mac & Cheese boxes are unveiling a new brand identity that includes an updated logo, simpler packaging and even a newer noodle smile that will appear on the front of every box. The design it's replaced included the longer name, a graphic of a loose-leaf sheet of paper ripped out of a notebook stating the lack of artificial flavors, preservatives and dyes, and the tagline, “smmmile, it’s the cheesiest,” which admittedly might take a moment to register as a tagline instead of a typo.
“There is a familiar, craveable, positive comfort to Kraft Mac & Cheese that makes it so special and iconic to millions of people across the world and our new look is a reflection of what our brand means to our consumers,” Victoria Lee, brand manager at Kraft, said in the press release.
This isn’t the first time Kraft has revamped its mac and cheese, although historically it was what was inside of the box that they altered. In 2016, Kraft quietly changed its recipe, removing artificial preservatives and dyes and replacing the latter with paprika, annatto and turmeric. The company even sold 50 million boxes of its new recipe before cleverly announcing the change in a marketing campaign.
Kraft Mac & Cheese’s product rebranding effort is the latest in a years-long string of other food brands streamlining their product and company names, including Jamba (formerly known as Jamba Juice), Dunkin' (formerly known as Dunkin' Donuts) and KFC (formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken). Fast-food joints aren’t the only entities keeping this trend alive, either. WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers, shortened its name to signal a shift to wellness.
What does this mean for the everyday consumer? Not much, except if what you’re looking for to pair with dinner is a side of gentle ribbing with your cheesy pasta via Twitter.
"Kraft announced that Macaroni and Cheese will no longer be known as 'Macaroni and Cheese.' In a move to be more informal and familiar, their signature product will be rebranded as simply 'Mac & Cheese.' Similarly, the 'Thick’n Creamy' style will now be called 'Badunkadunk,'" tweeted writer Jarrett Bellini.
Regardless of the length of Kraft Mac & Cheese's name, it’s pretty clear that its popularity likely won’t shorten along with it.