Big Mac Attack

Salon.com recently ran an item on Annie’s Homegrown, the company that makes any number of organic convenience foods (including the mac and cheese we, and the salon article’s author, admit to having in the cupboard). Meg Hourihan over at megnut.com wrote a smart post questioning the article’s methodology in comparing Annie’s mac and cheese, the famous blue box version produced by Kraft, and home-made. The Salon article is right to encourage incredulity over corporate attempts to capitalize on parents’ concern over super-processed foods, but I’m one of many parents who are clearly happy to have a less-processed version of instant mac and cheese to modify to my (and my childrens’) hearts’ content. Over the years I’ve eaten my fair share of both Kraft and Annie’s and my palate sides with the latter: it’s less sweet and has better cheese flavor. And the color of Annie’s is nowhere near as unsettling as the day-glo orange beacon glowing off of the Kraft stuff. Simply looking like real food goes a long way in my book. But we’re curious to know: where do you stand on the Annie’s versus Kraft debate?
—Hugh

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7 Responses to Big Mac Attack

  1. Andy says:

    Stumbled on this blog just now – love it – surprised you don’t get more comments! I have 6 and 8 y.o. Gastrokids myself – food is such a big part of our lives – our 8 y.o. knows more about cheese than me and our 6 y.o. orders for us at yum cha!!

  2. Personally, I’m on the side of Annie’s, Kraft’s incarnation isn’t even palatable to me unless I’m drunk and have considerably lowered my standards

  3. anonymous says:

    Annie’s is great! Almost everything we eat is homemade so the occaisonal box of all natural mac & cheese isn’t going to hurt anyone.

  4. Adam says:

    Annie’s! Even if the Salon article were true (and I’m not sure it is; it’s really more anecdotally based than factually), Annie’s tastes better. I certainly don’t think it stinks, as the Salon author says. About a week ago, I tried the Kraft shells and cheese (premade sauce, not powdered), and it had NO flavor. Annie’s has a nice sharpness to it and comes in several varieties. Kraft has maybe, like, two flavors. Pffft.

  5. Lindsey McConnell says:

    Annie’s. It is the best. I love the white cheddar, my fave! It feels good too, and that makes it taste better ;-) I make it in my house, so homemade it is.

  6. Joanna says:

    Annie’s! The frozen microwave version is a favorite in our house. My three-year loves it and I do too. While a saucepan full of Krafts is also hard to resist— it seems a bit like eating something made out of plastic.

  7. Brandon says:

    I’ve been suspicious of Annie’s since the get-go. But you know what? I still buy it because, as many noted, it tastes better. And some nights, even grating cheese is too much for me (and for those of us who’ve been writing/cooking/holding babies over the years, carpal tunnel is not a myth but a reality). I do think, however, the company does need to be taken to task for using the word “natural” without good evidence to back it up. Pure intentions just aren’t enough.
    Should we withhold criticism of big food companies because they’re at least moving in a positive direction? They only moved there because the market demanded it, and if we push a little harder (i.e. by pointing out that feedlots that provide only organic feed to their cattle are still, in fact, feedlots and that corn raised without pesticides might still be the wrong thing for cows to eat) perhaps they’ll continue to move even further along that positive track. Annie’s needs to drop the non-organic line and move forward. And as consumers (and by extension, writers who act as surrogates), we need to continue to regard what’s available to buy through a well-justified critical lens.

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