Kraft rebrands macaroni and cheese to promote comfort food positioning


Live Brief:

  • Kraft unveiled streamlined branding for its macaroni and cheese to promote the concept of “positive comfort,” per a news release.
  • The move includes a name change from Kraft Macaroni & Cheese to Kraft Mac & Cheese, reflecting how consumers organically talk about the product. Packaging will come in a single blue hue that draws greater attention to the nonpershiable item’s noodle-smile iconography, which has been redesigned with more dripping cheese.
  • Kraft will start broadcasting the refresh on its website and social channels this summer, while the new boxes will hit store shelves in August. The marketer joins others in the packaged food industry in introducing subtle rebrands that try to modernize legacy offerings and recognize the shifting consumer tastes.

Live Insight:

Kraft is revamping its macaroni and cheese line to place greater focus on a comfort food positioning. The brand identity update spans the marketer’s name, logo, coloring, typography, photography, iconography and packaging design, but mostly appears to be a bid at streamlining, including by adopting the more colloquial “Mac & Cheese” moniker.

A makeover for the 85-year-old product follows the introduction of a marketing platform last fall that tries to destigmatize the idea of ​​comfort food. The effort, which was developed with agency Johannes Leonardo, marked the first standalone campaign for the Kraft-owned brand and featured a TikTok challenge, potentially speaking to a desire to connect with young consumers that favor the video-sharing app. The “positive comfort” throughline in these changes also ties into the self-care trend that’s popular with millennials, a cohort that’s gravitated away from traditional packaged foods in favor of more natural and organic offerings.

“We know that people aren’t turning into comfort food as a guilty pleasure, they are positively embracing comfort, saying yes to feeling good, saying yes to caring for themselves,” said Victoria Lee, Kraft Mac & Cheese brand manager, in a statement around the brand refresh. “There is a familiar, craveable, 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.”

The timing of the overhaul could be apt. More consumers have sought comfort food during the pandemic, which has benefited packaged goods giants that struggled to make those products connect pre-COVID. Looming recessionary fears and rising inflation could also steer more people to pick up cheaper, shelf-stable goods in the future. Kraft parent Kraft Heinz has recently had to raise prices, which could test the loyalty of consumers the firm won back thanks to pandemic-driven grocery trends, Ad Age reported.

Other companies are ramping up their attempts to put out a positive message amid an otherwise gloomy national mood. IHOP earlier this year rolled out a campaign that throws a brighter spotlight on its iconic red smile logo. The advertising push helped support a loyalty program — the chain’s first — that riffs on the cryptocurrency space and was the first work from new creative agency Pereira O’Dell.

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