Kraft Macaroni is getting a plant-based makeover, marking the first time that international food company Kraft Heinz has experimented with vegan mac and cheese. The food giant just debuted a vegan version of its signature blue box macaroni and cheese in Australia, claiming that the boxed meal is the “contemporary” version of the household favorite. The Kraft Vegan Mac & Cheese is both vegan certified and gluten-free, providing consumers with an allergen-friendly mac and cheese option. The rice flour-based pasta is accompanied by a fully dairy-free sauce that is suggested to be mixed with soy milk rather than conventional dairy milk.

Currently, the Vegan Mac & Cheese has only been spotted at Woolworths grocery stores in Australia and the company’s website. While consumers worldwide will have to wait for vegan mac and cheese, Kraft Heinz had developed several vegan products over recent years. The company has also pushed its venture arms into plant-based investments.

Kraft Heinz showed its plant-based redirection in 2019 when the company chose five vegan start-ups to support during a 16-week Springboard Brands program hosted in Chicago. The program was meant to provide the necessary support to the growing companies by offering networking opportunities, mentorship events, and access to the Kraft kitchen and production facilities. Kraft also granted the start-up $50,000 in starting capital to better launch their vegan products.

In 2019, Kraft Heinz also assisted in a funding round where Silicon Valley-based company New Culture secured $35 million. The company is working towards a fermentation process that will create dairy-identical mozzarella without cow involvement. New Culture announced that its vegan, cell-based cheese will become available in 2023.

The company has also started expanding its vegan options in other food categories across the United Kingdom. Kraft Heinz released the [Seriously] Good Vegan Mayo and Vegan Salad Cream across the UK last year after the company discovered how to recreate the recipe without the use of eggs.

Specifically, Heinz is redesigning its bean and sauce portfolio. The Beanz products started etching towards veganism last year. In January 2020, the company announced that its “Bean Meanz Heinz” would be rebranded to “Beanz Meanz Vegan” for the British Veganuary campaign. The Heinz brand also announced that it would be moving towards “VBQ” labels for nearly 29 new plant-based meats and barbeque sauces.

“Beans are already a vegan product, so we are looking to take beans as a base for a new plant-based range,” Kraft Heinz Ireland head David Adams told The Checkout following the company’s vegan mayo and salad cream debut. “We are working through a few ideas at the moment and we are excited about the possibilities in the plant-based arena.”

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