- Kraft Heinz is launching a frozen version of its signature Macaroni & Cheese. Kraft Mac & Cheese Deluxe Frozen is available in Original Cheddar and Four Cheese versions at major retailers.
- The new offering serves people’s desires both for comfort food and convenience, the company said in a press release.
- Kraft Heinz has been rolling out several innovative products in the recent past. The mega-CPG company recently launched new frozen meal brand Homebake 425°/:30, spicy versions of Heinz Ketchup and artificial intelligence-powered plant-based NotMayo as part of its joint venture with NotCo.
Kraft’s Macaroni & Cheese is already a convenient, simple dish to make but creating a frozen and microwavable version makes it easier yet. This new product brings the more decadent deluxe version of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese to consumers’ forks in minutes, needing nothing except a microwave.
“At KRAFT Mac & Cheese, we believe in the positive power of comfort,” Rachel Drof, director of brand communications, for Kraft Mac & Cheese, said in a release. “As we look to create new offerings, we lead with comfort as our north star.”
In the last few months, Kraft Heinz’s innovation has gone into overdrive with several new launches. Some, like Kraft Mac & Cheese Deluxe Frozen, have been new spins on beloved and standard products. Some have been entirely new brands in different spaces.
At the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in February, Kraft Heinz executives said they are refocusing their efforts to improve innovation — which the company sees as its strongest driver for growth.
Kraft Heinz developed a process for this kind of development called One Innovation Engine. This approach reimagines product development and leverages breakthrough technologies to create a portfolio that delivers value for consumers based not only on current needs, but future ones as well.
At CAGNY, Kraft Heinz North America Zone President Carlos Abrams-Rivera said One Innovation Engine includes cross-functional dedicated teams that work together to quickly develop new products. The company is looking for $2 billion in net sales just from these innovation projects by 2027, the leaders said at CAGNY.
Kraft Heinz organizes its brands into different platforms, which indicate the need a particular brand serves. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is in the Easy Meals platform, which CEO Miguel Patricio said at CAGNY is targeted for growth. The company expects Easy Meals to grow about 10% in the next four years, he said.
The Easy Meals platform has already been on a growth trajectory. In the most recent quarter, Patricio told analysts in an earnings presentation earlier this month the platform has grown 13% compared to the same time a year ago.
And while Kraft Mac & Cheese already had easier-to-prepare products — including different sizes of add-water-and-microwave Easy Mac — frozen food as a category is continuing to heat up. In 2020 as COVID-19 was underway, nearly four in 10 shoppers said they consumed frozen foods at least once every few days, according to the American Frozen Food Institute.
In January 2022, SPINS found frozen food sales increased 26% compared to 2020. Sales of frozen entrees were up 9.8% compared to the year before, the market data firm found.
If the recent past is any indication, Kraft Heinz’s new innovations are likely to keep on coming. In a previous interview, Pedro Navio, Kraft Heinz’s U.S. president of Taste, Meals and Away from Home, said the company is planning to deliver 80% more innovations in 2023 compared to last year.
Just this week, the company also introduced Heinz Remix, a customizable sauce dispenser for foodservice that allows consumers to mix their own blends of Kraft Heinz’s condiments. It also officially launched its line of licensed IHOP coffee.