Kraft very quietly changed its Mac & Cheese recipe months ago -- and nobody noticed the difference

Kraft mac n cheeseKraftA still from Kraft’s new ad campaign.

Kraft Heinz announced last April that it planned to remove synthetic colouring and preservatives from its popular Macaroni & Cheese recipe.

However, there was some backlash from consumers who wanted the recipe to be left alone.

Because of this, the newly-merged Kraft Heinz company decided it would make the changes suddenly, without making a big deal about it with an ad campaign or promoting the new ingredients on the front of the box. It made the switch last December. Since then it has sold more than 50 million boxes.

It looks like nobody even noticed the difference.

In the new recipe, artificial dyes including “yellow 5” and “yellow 6” were replaced with paprika, annatto and turmeric. Artificial reservatives were also removed.

The experiment has become the focus of Kraft Heinz’s new ad campaign, created by ad agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky. It launches Monday and presents the message: “It’s changed. But it hasn’t.”

Kraft macaroni mac and cheeseVia FlickrKraft Heinz says the new Mac & Cheese recipe looks and tastes the same as before.

Kraft Heinz is calling this the “world’s largest blind taste test” — despite the fact that the correct ingredients were displayed on packaging at all times.

The new ingredients will now be more prominently displayed on the front of the box, Kraft Heinz told Business Insider.

“As we considered changing the ingredients of our classic Blue Box, we did so knowing we had to maintain our iconic look, taste and texture,” Gregory Guidotti, vice president of meals at Kraft Heinz, said in a press release. “We’d invite Americans to try our new recipe, but they most likely already have.”

Kraft Heinz had released a limited number of promotional boxes of the new recipe (with the pasta shaped like Star Wars characters) back in June. Testers from the Huffington Post said that they could not taste much difference between the two recipes.

The recipe change came after Kraft Heinz was under growing pressure from consumers to remove the artificial dyes in the product. A petition “Kraft: Stop Using Dangerous Food Dyes in Our Mac & Cheese” amassed 365,806 signatures.

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