Let’s face it, macaroni & cheese is a childhood favorite. And as long as I’ve been around, it’s been in the blue box with the neon orange powder.
……until last year. Kraft stepped up and quietly eliminated the artificial food dyes in their famous mac & cheese and I thought it was a brilliant strategy. I know they most likely caught tons of flack from consumers who heard the rumor they were going to “change the recipe” by removing them. I read the nasty comments people put on their Facebook page. People actually said AND felt that the taste of the macaroni & cheese would change if they eliminated the dyes.
Guess what? It didn’t. And Kraft proved that. They replaced those artificial food dyes and no one was ever the wiser (unless you happened to look at the ingredient list on the side of the box). They used paprika, annatto and turmeric instead of that nasty chemical storm called Yellow #5 and Yellow #6.
And no one knew. Or cared (that I ever saw). *Gasp*
Just goes to even further drive home the fact that artificial food dyes were originally added to make food “pretty”. But as we learned, you just don’t need it. Food dye does not add flavor, so why include it? And nowadays there are so many more options at the grocery store that you shouldn’t have to end up with a box full of nasty dyes.
Here’s what I found on a recent trip to Target.
The first option is microwaveable and great for teenagers. I should know, mine loves these.
All of the Velveeta products are free of artificial dyes. Kraft also makes an “Easy Mac” in a microwaveable cup and it is also dye free. ***Check the ingredients on the Kraft “Easy Mac” for a while since I came across some older (though not expired) packages that were made from the old formula and still contain dye.***
And like I’ve told you guys before anything organic will automatically be free of artificial food dyes, so any of those will be safe. And I have to give kudos to Target. Their organic selection of mac & cheese is stellar. As you can see, Kraft has its own organic mac & cheese. Annie’s Homegrown even has a gluten free one (and none of Annie’s products contain dyes). (sorry for the blurry picture, I’m short- the shelf was tall, you get the picture.)
Back To Nature (box on the top shelf, left side) is another great brand that is safe. You can sometimes find this brand at Big Lots & 99 cent stores.
Target also carries their own organic brand called, Simply Balanced. This was comparable to the price of Kraft’s organic.
So what about Walmart, Kroger, Publix, etc? I can tell you that the store brand Kroger mac & cheese still contains dyes. They tested a dye free version a while back, but it quickly disappeared. I will look the next time I’m in there to see if they just changed the box or decided not to carry it at all.
Aldi (of course!) has a dye free mac & cheese AND a gluten free mac & cheese. Aldi always brings it with the dye free options. If you don’t have one near you, you really should tell them on their Facebook page that you want one. Seriously, a great little grocery store.
Walmart’s Great Value brand Original Mac & Cheese is NOT safe, but their Great Value brand Premium Shells & Cheese IS safe, it’s just like Velveeta Shells & Cheese.
As for Publix? Their store brand does still contain Yellow #5 & 6, as do most store brands unfortunately.
Bottom line? Your best option, obviously, is homemade. But let’s face it, we’re all extremely busy and when we are, these options are much better than the box that contains Yellow #5 & 6, right?
What other brands have you found?