Kraft Macaroni & Cheese in blue boxes. What’s more iconic than that? What represents economically priced comfort food better? Not much, according to consumers. In fact, consumer research pointed to the need for Kraft to unify its three groups of mac and cheese product offerings. As a result, the Macaroni & Cheese Dinner, Deluxe, and Easy Mac microwavable cups have now been united into one big, happy family.

That called for a package refresh and a new brand identity that would leverage the chief assets of the brand. Because “smiles, joy, and happiness” reflected consumers’ primary associations with the brand, and all three mac and cheese segments were repackaged into a single brand, what made more sense than the “noodle smile” featured in the new brand identity? Check it out in this Media Post article.

I applaud this decision on the part of Kraft. Conceptually, the new packaging and brand identity executed by Landor Associates hits the mark. Brand signature blue packaging encompasses all varieties of mac and cheese, and varied color strips across the bottom of the boxes segments each variety. The prominent circular brand mark featuring the Kraft macaroni and cheese unifier with its “noodle smile” is clever and on point.

Upshot: Consumers won’t have to hunt to find any Kraft mac and cheese products now that the brand is all unified with one brand mark and unified packaging, right?

Because my consultancy collaborates closely with “enjoyment” brand packaging, we understand how powerful the connection is between a consumer and a heritage brand. Great childhood memories, positive experiences, and enjoyable moments make for powerful bonds. Playing on that strength is absolutely key to leveraging the full power of the brand.

It’s no surprise that category sales are up across the board on mac and cheese brands. Downturns in the economy always see a surge of sales on these products. Yet, as a mature brand 73 years young, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner products saw a bullish 8% increase in sales to $645 million by late August. And that has come on top of double-digit sales increases from mid-2008 on. Enviable growth for any mature brand.

The other smart thing Kraft is doing: Ads are telling adults, “You know you love it,” to rectify past ads focusing on mac and cheese as “kids’ food.” Smart. Very smart. After all, adults were all kids once, and who among us doesn’t have fond memories of Kraft mac and cheese?


  • What do you think of Kraft’s new strategy for its mac and cheese products unifying them under one brand identity and the same packaging?

  • Will this approach make the line easier to shop so consumers can more easily find their favorite variety?

  • What do you think of the brand device of the “noodle smile”?

I’d love to hear from you.

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image of Ted Mininni

Ted Mininni is president and creative director of Design Force, a leading brand-design consultancy.

LinkedIn: Ted Mininni