Is Private Brand Macaroni & Cheese the Cheesiest?

This past week the Newport News, Virginia based daily newspaper the Daily Press ran this fascinating taste test article including the national brands and retailers Harris Teeter, Kroger, Farm Fresh, Food Lion and Walmart. Not surprisingly the Private Brands tested performed very well, actually beating out the national brands in several cases.

Store brand takes the top title in mac ‘n cheese taste test

Between school and fall sports and band practice, dinner can slip through the cracks some nights. That’s usually when the trusty box of macaroni and cheese hits the table.

To help you make the best choice on that last-minute savior, we gathered our Savvy Shopper Street Team — and some of their kids — for a boxed macaroni and cheese taste test.

We tested the common local store brands — Harris Teeter, Kroger, Farm Fresh, Food Lion and Wal-Mart — against the national brand Kraft for flavor and nutrition. We know there are a few other brands out there, but these are among the most common and the most similar to one another.

We broke up the test into two categories: Traditional or deluxe macaroni and cheese made with cheese sauce and instant or Easy Mac-style macaroni and cheese made with powdered cheese sauce.

Deluxe is king
In a nearly unanimous vote, both kids and moms liked the taste of the traditional macaroni and cheese better than the powdered cheese version. As for the brand battle, Food Lion and Kraft tied in the top spot.

“The noodles are much smaller than the other brands, which I think would be great for small kids,” Donna Lorence, of Hampton, said of the Kraft macaroni.

Teresa Chun, of Newport News, agreed that the noodles are a good size and flavor, but Food Lion’s version offered the perfect blend of cheese and noodle. Cheryl Shears, of Portsmouth, liked the taste of the Food Lion brand, but thought the color was a bit too orange.

Read the entire article

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.