NEW YORK (AP) — Kraft says it plans to remove artificial dyes from three macaroni and cheese varieties that come in kid-friendly shapes, a move that comes as people increasingly reach for foods they feel are natural.
The change doesn't affect Kraft's plain elbow-shaped macaroni and cheese with “original flavor.”
The packaged-food company, which also makes Oscar Mayer and Jell-O, said the revamped recipes aren't a response to a petition on Change.org that asked it to remove artificial dyes from its famous macaroni and cheese kits. That petition, which was posted in March, had more than 348,000 signatures on Thursday.
Kraft's new recipes, which begin shipping early next year, will be for its macaroni and cheese varieties that come in the SpongeBob Squarepants, Halloween and winter shapes. Two new shapes will also be added.
The company said it plans to replace the artificial dyes with spices such as paprika for coloring.
Ingredients in packaged food have come under greater scrutiny in recent years. People are increasingly trying to eat foods they feel are better for them, and big food makers are adjusting their offerings to keep pace.
Triona Schmelter, Kraft Food Group Inc.'s vice president of marketing for meals, said the company was looking to improve the nutritional profiles of the three macaroni and cheese varieties. The new recipes will add whole grains and reduce the amount of sodium and saturated fat, she said.
She declined to specify whether Kraft would eventually make similar changes to its other macaroni and cheese lines. But she noted the company already offers options that only use natural colors, such as several of its “Homestyle” varieties.Vani Hari, who started the petition on Change.org, said she expects Kraft will remove artificial dyes from other products down the road.
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