KANSAS CITY — Macaroni and cheese is getting a makeover … several, in fact … as food manufacturers put their own spins on the comfort food classic.
The Kraft Heinz Co. is offering the taste of homemade in an easy-to-make format with new Cracker Barrel Oven Baked Macaroni and Cheese. Free of artificial flavors and dyes, the meal solutions are available in Sharp Cheddar, Sharp White Cheddar and Cheddar Havarti varieties and contain large ridged noodles, seasonings, toasted breadcrumbs and Cracker Barrel cheese.
“We know our consumers love baked, at-home macaroni and cheese,” said Jessica Gilbertson, head of meals for Kraft Heinz. “With Cracker Barrel Oven Baked Macaroni & Cheese we’ve taken the hassle out of homemade, and we’ve perfected seasoning blends to come up with three flavorful varieties that are easy to prepare.”
Offering a plant-based take on the pasta, Upton’s Naturals is introducing Ch’eesy Mac pre-cooked vegan macaroni and cheese. Packaged with ready-to-eat macaroni noodles and a prepared pouch of nutritional yeast-based cheese, the 100% vegan products are free of nuts, dairy, oil, trans fat, cholesterol, G.M.O.s and artificial flavors. The pasta is available in two varieties: original Ch’eesy Mac and Ch’eesy Bacon Mac, which features the addition of crispy bacon seitan.
“Vegan mac and cheese is one of our favorite foods, and it’s a mainstay on the menu at our Chicago cafe, Upton’s Breakroom,” said Dan Staackmann, founder of Upton’ Naturals. “With this launch, we set out to create a boxed version of our signature Ch’eesy Mac dish so that consumers everywhere can enjoy a delicious bowl of comforting vegan goodness on us.”
Catering to the gluten-free and garden vegetable lovers alike, Luvo, Inc. is launching new Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese. The gluten-free dish consists of brown rice noodles, a creamy cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese sauce, roasted cauliflower crumbles and a panko style topping made with rice flour and pea protein. Providing 11 grams of protein and 55 grams of whole grains, the frozen meal is nut-free and vegetarian.
Another vegan version debuts from Field Roast Grain Meat Co. The company’s new frozen Mac n Chao entrees feature sauces made with slices of the company’s Chao (a rich and creamy coconut cheese seasoned with traditionally fermented soybean curd that the Vietnamese call Chao) and are available in two varieties: Creamy Mac n Chao and Chili Mac n Chao, which features sauce made from Tomato Cayenne Chao slices, spicy bean chili and crumbles of the company’s FieldBurger, which is made with barley, carrots and celery.
“Our research and development team have outdone themselves with these new lines of delicious ... pasta dishes”, said David Lee, chief executive officer of Field Roast. “We think our new pasta ... will delight our current customers who enjoy our delicious products. We think our frozen line is a game-changer, bringing our products to new consumers and become must-have snack alternatives.”