Krafting The Next Big Product Idea

July 20, 2021
Is any other iteration of Mac 'n Cheese still as delicious? 

When I first read about the Kraft Mac 'n Cheese ice cream a few days ago, my immediate thought was: Eww. Why? Granted, I'm an ice cream loyalist and my ice cream proclivity trends toward that which has the word 'cookie' in the name. 

As I read more about the collaboration between Kraft Heinz and artisanal ice-cream maker Van Leeuwen, it became a little clearer to me the reason behind the why: Because they could.

Mac 'n Cheese ranks right up there with hot dogs and apple pie as far America's favorite foods are concerned. Though I hope we never have hot dog ice cream, I know for a fact we have apple pie ice cream, so it sort of made sense to merge two beloved products into one tasty summer treat: Mac 'n Cheese Ice Cream. 

As I was reading the story behind the story, I was taken back to my own brush with product development.

Picture it, 1992, Chicago suburbs. A 16 year old female is 10-days post-op from massive reconstructive jaw surgery where her mouth was been wired shut in order for the newly grafted bones to set. For 6 days, she's lived off of high-calorie liquid meal replacements that taste like chalk. Desperate for a small return to normalcy, she comes up with an idea: Warm milk and her favorite orange powder from the blue box in her family's pantry. 

She couldn't ingest the noodles, but she could sip what would become her favorite 'meal' for the next 6 weeks: Mac 'n Cheese Soup. 

That 16 year old was me and that Mac 'n Cheese soup has remained one of my favorite indulgences. Now that I have the full use of my jaw again, I've added an ingredient here and there, but the 'product' I created stayed the same. 

So when I saw that a product existed that combined the love of Mac' n Cheese with a love of ice cream, my first thought may have been 'eww' but my next thought was 'yum, where do I get some?' I love that collaborations like this are becoming the norm and that we're not yucking someone's yum as often as we used to. 

By the way, Kraft R&D folks if you're reading this, let's talk Mac 'n Cheese Soup soon. Call me. 

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