Your childhood memories are being ruined, but you’ll probably be much healthier because of it. So, consider this a trade-off: Kraft will remove purportedly harmful Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 food dyes from its safety-orange macaroni and cheese starting in January next year.
Instead, the sticky pasta will be colored with paprika, annatto, and turmeric, which already dyes some of its boxed shapes macaroni and cheese dinners, NBC New York reported. So, if you want to know what the new version will taste like, pick up some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles macaroni and cheese, which has been au naturel since 2014.
“Familes… want to feel good about the foods they eat and serve their families, including everything from improved nutrition to simpler ingredients,” the company’s VP of Marketing, Triona Schmelter, told Newsweek.
Kraft has cowed to pressure from groups insisting on healthier food stripped of unnatural dyes, artificial colors, and preservatives; consumers are demanding it from other companies, as well. They’ve taken a while to jump on the natural-food, no dye bandwagon because they didn’t want the same customers begging for change to “notice a change in taste.”
Kraft Mac n cheese will change its product over my dead body which is already dying from their product.
— Michael McDonald (@mcdonaldcomedy) April 21, 2015
And they’re taking a risk by changing the unnatural color of their macaroni and cheese – a color burned into many a childhood memory – but the company promises it will taste the same. Hopefully, that proves true, Ad Week editor Roberta Klara told CBS New York.
“There’s always a risk of it backfiring when you take any popular product and change some elements of it, but I have a feeling it’s going to succeed only because they direction that they’re going is the direction that a lot of consumer products are going anyway.”
More than 360,000 consumers are going in this direction: They signed an online petition urging Kraft to remove the dyes from their ingredients list, started by food blogger and best-selling author Vani Hari, known as much for her TV-ready hotness as her tendency to tout pseudoscience as fact, her critics claim, the Washington Post reported.
The self-style “Food Babe” has declared a “victory” over Kraft. Her two-year-old campaign against macaroni and cheese claimed its dyes were “man-made in a lab with chemicals derived from petroleum” and contained carcinogens, among other harmful effects.
Though Hari claims a background in hard science, actual scientists have said her arguments are sheer pseudoscientific garbage, like chemistry professor Michelle M. Francl.
“Her scientific background is nonexistent … She plays this game of malicious metonymy again and again, leveraging common motifs of disgust, such as excrement and body parts, all the while deliberately confusing the source and uses of material with the molecules themselves.”
Want the science behind the removal of dyes from your favorite macaroni and cheese? Here’s this article on Yellow 5. Judge for yourself, and stock up on the bright orange pasta before 2016.
[Photo Courtesy YouTube Screengrab, Kraft Commercial]