Mac and Cheese Monopoly: Myth-busting the Kraft-Velveeta debate


(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It’s National Mac and Cheese Day! Perhaps you plan on celebrating by whipping up a box of your favorite noodles and cheese, either the traditional blue-boxed Kraft or the “liquid gold” Velveeta. While at first, you might think you’re picking between two rivals backed by fierce supporters preferring elbows or shells, but you’re actually picking Kraft either way.

The history of the Velveeta-Kraft debate is complicated and in itself debated. According to a Smithsonian Magazine article detailing the history of Velveeta, Kraft acquired the Velveeta Cheese Company in 1927 after VCC’s founding in 1923 by Emil Frey, a Swiss cheesemaker residing in the US.

A spokesperson for Kraft commented differently, however, after the article’s 2014 publication, stating that the company actually created Velveeta in-house, using Frey’s name only in the marketplace and not with the product. This statement has not been confirmed, however. What’s certain, though, is that either way you decide to celebrate National Mac and Cheese Day, you’ll be commemorating with Kraft.

Kraft, in partnership with the globally-known Heinz Company, does not only own the two rivaled macaroni and cheese brands. In a list of its “beloved global brands,” the conglomerate names multiple brands available in the US that produce other well-known mac and cheese products.

Smart Ones, a “health-conscious” brand, has frozen single and family-size versions of mac and cheese in their product line. Kraft also owns Cracker Barrel Cheese (unaffiliated with the Cracker Barrel General Store), which has fresh cheese and boxed mac and cheese products in stores. Back to Nature, a brand with a plant-based snack line and boxed and cheese line which boasts organically made pasta noodles under the Kraft brand.

Of course, even if you prefer to stir up homemade mac and cheese on the stove, it’s possible-even likely, that Kraft will be a part of your cooking. According to Reference for Business, an encyclopedia of major businesses worldwide, Kraft is the largest food company in the U.S. and comes in number two internationally behind Nestlé. Reference for Business also reports that the company holds the top global position in 11 product categories, including process cheese and cream cheese along with other major areas such as coffee, crackers and salad dressings. Kraft was also listed a “Top Six Vendor in the Global Cheese Market from 2016 to 2020” by Technavio, a market research company that provides data to media outlets like BBC and Forbes.

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