Kraft plans to remove artificial dyes from three mac and cheese products that come in kid-friendly shapes. The change won’t affect the company’s plain elbow-shaped macaroni cheese with “original flavor.”
The food company explained that the revamped recipes aren’t a response to a petition on Change.org to remove artificial dyes. However, the company didn’t explain why it made the change.
The Change.org petition was posted in March, and had more than 348,000 signatures by Thursday, reports The Associated Press. Instead of the artificial dyes, Kraft will use spices like paprika for coloring.
Kraft’s decision comes as ingredients used in packaged food have come under intense scrutiny. People are trying to eat foods they believe are better for them, and that includes cutting out artificial dyes.
In response, big food makers are adjusting their recipes and offerings to keep up with the pace. ABC News notes that Triona Schmelter, the company’s vice president of marketing meals, noted, “We’ll continue to make improvements where we can.”
Friday’s news was a victory for blogger Vani Hari, who blogs at Food Babe. She, along with fellow blogger Lisa Leake, launched the petition in March and confronted executives at Kraft. Hari commented, “I was so shaken with the news that my body was trembling. I have been fighting so hard for these 348,000 people, being their voice.”
Hari has been worried about the artificial dyes — yellow dye 5 and yellow dye 6 — because they add nothing to the flavor and could be dangerous to kids’ health. After investigating the company’s products, Hari found that Kraft makes the same products in the UK, but it is dye-free because of the country’s stricter rules regarding additives.
Schmelter explained that the new recipes also add whole grains and reduce the amount of sodium and saturated fat. She didn’t say whether Kraft will remove artificial dyes from the rest of its macaroni and cheese lines.