- Goodles is making macaroni and cheese to provide a healthier alternative and appeal to young adults. The company’s founding team includes Annie’s co-founder and former president Deb Luster, former Kraft executive Paul Earle and Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot. Its products have 14 grams of protein, prebiotics, no artificial flavors or preservatives and 21 different organic ingredients including kale and mushrooms. The company says its macaroni and cheese has 25% fewer calories than Kraft's.
- The company received $6.4 million in funding thus far from investors including Springdale Ventures, Willow Growth Partners, Third Craft, Gingerbread Capital and Purple Arch Venture. Private investors include Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, venture capitalist Allison Rose, and, according to the company, a variety of NBA stars and Olympians.
- Goodles says it is the first mac and cheese to achieve the "Purity Award" from the Clean Label Project, which a company can get by sending its product to a lab to test for over 400 toxins and contaminants. The company hopes to attract the growing number of consumers making purchasing decisions based on their health.
A survey conducted by Goodles found 85% of young adults aged 24 to 36 regularly eat mac and cheese. The two leading mac and cheese brands — Kraft and Annie’s — have primarily been associated with kids’ food for many years, and the company intends to give adults a brand to openly enjoy.
“This is a refresh of an entire category and an entire aisle,” Luster said.
Luster said the company is targeting adults who have been “hiding in the closet with their mac and cheese waiting to come out.” She also wants to attract consumers who may have been turned off by mac and cheese because of its lack of nutritional value.
“The fact that this $4.4 billion category has not nutritionally evolved in all of these years is unbelievable,” said Jen Zeszut, Goodles’ CEO.
Branding is central to the company’s mission, according to Zeszut. The team wanted to create a more appealing packaging and design for its intended young adult consumers. The boxes feature bright colors and minimal typefaces.
The brand is initially launching with four flavors: Mover & Shaker (inspired by cacio e pepe pasta), Twist My Parm (asiago and parmesan spirals), Shella Good (white cheddar shells) and Cheddy Mac. The first two were created to tread new ground in the space with flavors more familiar to adults, and the last two were designed to be recognizable to Kraft and Annie’s consumers. During its development stage, the Goodles team tested out more than 1,000 prototypes in order to gauge which ingredients would work best, according to Zeszut.
She also said the company has more projects planned to market Goodles to consumers, including collaborations with breweries.
“We want to signal to the market that it’s familiar, but then we’re heading in all kinds of new directions and our innovation pipeline is robust,” Zeszut said.
Goodles is not the only company looking to boost the nutritional profile of mac and cheese. Last week, Danone-owned plant-based pioneer Follow Your Heart announced it was entering the category with dairy-free SuperMac, made with organic vegetables, beans and cashews. Banza, which produces foods from chickpeas, also sells a mac and cheese with 15 grams of protein.