Products & Launches

Daiya and The Kraft Heinz NotCompany Both Launch Vegan Mac & Cheese in Canada

Two major, noteworthy brands in the alternative foods space have launched vegan mac & cheese products this week in Canada, a country known for its love of the traditionally dairy-heavy dish.

The Kraft Heinz Not Company, a joint venture between Kraft Heinz — the name most closely associated with packet mac and cheese — and Chile’s NotCo, has today debuted KD NotMacandCheese in Canada, marking the first plant-based addition to its Canadian product line. Concurrently, Daiya, known for its dairy-free cheese alternatives, announced the introduction of a new line of Dry Powdered Mac & Cheese.

Canada as biggest market for mac & cheese

In November of last year, The Kraft Heinz Not Company debuted the plant-based Mac & Cheese in the United States. However, the launch in Canada is likely to be even more disruptive, with KD being found in nearly half of all Canadian pantries, according to the company. It has been widely documented that Canada is the biggest consumer of Mac & Cheese, with the Toronto Sun referring to the dish as the defacto dish of Canada and claiming that Canadians consume about 94 million boxes of KD a year.

“More Canadians than ever are looking for easy plant-based alternatives to pantry staples”

Lucho Lopez-May, CEO of The Kraft Heinz Not Company, states, “KD is Canada’s most iconic mac and cheese brand, and we are excited to leverage its strength alongside NotCo’s revolutionary technology for our first branded Canadian product launch.”

a plate of vegan mac-n-cheese on top of a table
© NotCo

Consumers seek familiar flavours

The company also cites that although Canadians are interested in adding more plant-based foods to their diets, they are continuously disappointed with the taste of plant-based alternatives. Recognizing the challenge of meeting consumer expectations, The Kraft Heinz Not Company aims to provide options that do not compromise on the familiar creamy taste and texture of traditional mac & cheese. Lopez-May continued, “More Canadians than ever are looking for easy plant-based alternatives to pantry staples that don’t ask them to give up the foods they love, and they want options from their favourite brands that taste, look, and feel like the originals.”

The product is available in two flavours, Original and White Cheddar Style, and will be rolled out at retailers nationwide. The company also announced the first plant-based offering from its subsidiary, Oscar Mayer, last week, with NotHotDogs and NotSausages, providing further vegan comfort food options that replicate the taste of their meat counterparts.

Daiya mac & cheese
© Daiya

Daiya’s Mac & Cheese

Simultaneously, Daiya has announced the launch of a new line of Dry Powdered Mac & Cheese, following the company’s recent reformulated cheese line. Available in Cheddar and White Cheddar, the Dry Powdered Mac & Cheese will be available at Loblaws and Metro and will accompany the company’s existing Liquid Mac & Cheese, which comes with pasta and a package of ready-made liquid sauce. The products will also be launched in the United States at Walmart and The Fresh Market, along with an Aged Cheddar variety that is not yet available to Canadian consumers.

John Kelly, Chief Marketing Officer at Daiya, expressed that the launch is part of Daiya’s ongoing efforts to expand its range of plant-based food products, including more choices for dairy-free comfort food. He comments, “We’re always listening to customer requests for new products and innovations as we expand our consumer base – and felt a convenient, dairy-free dry powdered Mac & Cheese with delicious flavour was missing on the shelf – so we developed one. Innovation and development are at the core of what we do at Daiya, and we are always looking for ways to encourage plant-based and dairy-free food exploration – even if you’re not 100% plant-based.”

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