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JKR Redesigns Kraft Mac & Cheese, and It's All Cheesy Noodle Smiles

by Rudy Sanchez on 06/22/2022 | 3 Minute Read

For 84 years, Kraft has offered its cheesy noodle pantry staple Macaroni & Cheese. Suffice it to say, that’s enough time to build generations of fans that fondly recall Mac & Cheese meals. 

But the longtime noodle giant, long known as a workhorse for parents with picky eaters everywhere, decided it was time for a significant refresh of the brand, and they turned to the talented folks at JKR for a new identity that retains enough familiarity to resonate with longtime fans. But it also maintains a contemporary look that will appeal to younger generations of boxed Mac & Cheese lovers.

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The first significant change, however, was to the name. Kraft went from the formal “Macaroni & Cheese” to the more colloquial “Mac & Cheese” because, well, how many of us are really committing to four syllables in "macaroni?" After all, this is peak comfort food.

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Secondly, the brand opted for a new typeface, as that's kind of JKR's thing. Dubbed Blue Box Sans, the type from font foundry F37 found inspiration in the rounded shapes of macaroni. The logo also undergoes a significant change, using the new typeface and name and dropping the yellow gradient for flat white. “Dinner” is removed from the logo (because apparently, it's also for breakfast now), and a new noodle smile features a single drop of cheese sauce coming off from the bottom, reinforcing one of the critical features of the dish. The lipped edge and blue gradient background get swapped out for a button-like shape that's slightly concave in the center, while the Kraft branding gets reduced slightly.

Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph

JKR also managed to make the overall packaging suite less busy. Gone are the noodles at the top of the box, and so is the “smmmmile, it’s the cheesiest” tagline. Instead of a sheet of lined notebook paper indicating all of the good stuff (no artificial flavors, preservatives, or dyes), consumers will now find it along the top of the box in a more subdued presentation. A spoonful of Mac & Cheese remains, but it’s slightly smaller and no longer the center of attention. The signature blue color also stays, and while the gradient gets dropped, the packaging utilizes different colors for the bottom third to identify different Mac & Cheese products, e.g., original, spirals, and thick and creamy. A slight bow also makes an appearance, a pleasant detail that plays on the theme of creating smiles found in other parts of the branding (like the new logo).

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“We know that people aren’t turning to comfort food as a guilty pleasure; they are positively embracing comfort, saying yes to feeling good, to caring for themselves,” said Victoria Lee, Kraft Mac & Cheese brand manager, via press release. “There is a familiar, crave-able, positive comfort to Kraft Mac & Cheese that makes it so special and iconic to millions of people across the world, and our new look is a reflection of what our brand means to our consumers.”

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Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph

You can see Kraft Mac & Cheese’s refresh on the brand’s social media channels, and packaging will roll out to stores beginning in August.

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Images courtesy of JKR.

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