The Kraft Heinz Not Company has released the first-ever dairy-free KRAFT NotMac&Cheese in the United States.
With the original Kraft Mac & Cheese generating sales of more than $500 million each year, the company has teamed up with Chilean plant-based food tech company NotCo to create vegan versions of its famous boxed meal. There are two flavors to choose from – original and white cheddar style.
Kraft Heinz states that less than 30 percent of vegan mac and cheese sales in the US are repeat purchases, which appears to show that consumers are not overly satisfied with the dairy-free versions of the dish available in stores.
“NotCo brings its revolutionary AI technology that has a proven track record in creating mouthwatering plant-based foods to KRAFT – the beloved mac and cheese brand that sells over a million boxes every day,” said Lucho Lopez-May, CEO of The Kraft Heinz Not Company, in a statement. “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.”
KRAFT NotMac&Cheese is the latest vegan offering from The Kraft Heinz Not Company, adding to the lineup of KRAFT NotCheese Slices and NotMayo. The company is already looking at more products and also expanding internationally in early 2024. NotCo creates vegan products using The Giuseppe Platform, an AI system designed for its chefs and scientists. It is an AI-powered research and development hub driven by machine learning and data.
Vegan mac and cheese options in the US
Prior to this launch from Kraft, US plant-based pasta lovers already had a few mac and cheese options to choose from, in the beloved box form. Annie’s has a whole range, including Vegan Macaroni & Cheddar (plus a gluten-free version), Red Lentil Spirals & Sweet Potato Pumpkin, Shells & Vegan Cheddar, and Shells & Sweet Potato Pumpkin. Daiya is well-known for its vegan cheeses, and its Deluxe Mac & Cheeze line has also proven popular.
What’s wrong with dairy mac and cheese?
The dairy industry, inextricably linked to the beef industry (as most dairy cows are sent to slaughterhouses for beef), is often regarded as significantly cruel. It’s also a greenhouse gas contributor, and milk and cheese have been linked to a number of diseases
Dairy’s carbon footprint is relatively high, due to the unsustainable amount of land and water required, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions of 3.15kg per liter of milk (by comparison, oat milk emits around 0.9kg).
There are a number of health concerns related to dairy, including cancer risk, saturated fat, heart disease, lactose intolerance, bone health, and more. In 2020, Doctors and other healthcare providers protested outside the USDA, urging it to remove dairy from dietary guidelines.
Standard practices on dairy farms around the world include artificial insemination, separating cows from their infant at birth, mutilations of cows, animals being confined in tiny spaces, and many more abuses.
Dairy-alternative food and drink has been one of the greatest successes in the vegan food industry — it was reported in 2021 that one in three people in the UK drink plant-based milk.
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