A boxed meal brand wanted to create a natural and organic macaroni and cheese offering that would appeal to clean label shoppers. The ingredient list for the company’s original version was quite long, owing to the fact that each box contained pasta and a cheese sauce mix, and it included ingredients that didn’t sound consumer friendly, such as ferrous sulfate and thiamine mononitrate. The goal was to replace these with more natural options while retaining or improving taste.
The original macaroni and cheese contained several natural ingredients, such as whole wheat pasta and real cheddar cheese. To deliver more clean label claims, the Kerry team on this project decided to reformulate the product to be wholly organic. First up was sourcing organic and natural ingredients that could serve as substitutes for the original ingredient list. The team was able to create an organic pasta from just two ingredients—organic wheat and organic semolina; the original pasta had used six ingredients.
Creating an organic cheddar cheese sauce required more collaboration between chefs and food scientists. Because Kerry’s heritage is in dairy, it was possible to source organic and, in some cases, non-GMO dairy, including milk, cheddar cheese, whey and butter. Natural flavors were used and color was replicated through the use of organic annatto extract. These changes meant the removal of modified cornstarch, cheese cultures, lactic acid, sodium phosphate and calcium phosphate, among other ingredients.
Kerry was able to contribute to every step of the project, from ideation and recipe development to ingredient sourcing and supply chain. Our chefs and food scientists created a product with the authentic taste of Kerry’s small-farm dairy.