Case Study

Boxed Macaroni and Cheese
Reformulated with a Clean Label


A boxed meal brand wanted to create a natural and organic macaroni and cheese offering that would appeal to clean label shoppers. The ingredient list for the company’s original version was quite long, owing to the fact that each box contained pasta and a cheese sauce mix, and it included ingredients that didn’t sound consumer friendly, such as ferrous sulfate and thiamine mononitrate. The goal was to replace these with more natural options while retaining or improving taste.


The original macaroni and cheese contained several natural ingredients, such as whole wheat pasta and real cheddar cheese. To deliver more clean label claims, the Kerry team on this project decided to reformulate the product to be wholly organic. First up was sourcing organic and natural ingredients that could serve as substitutes for the original ingredient list. The team was able to create an organic pasta from just two ingredients—organic wheat and organic semolina; the original pasta had used six ingredients.

Creating an organic cheddar cheese sauce required more collaboration between chefs and food scientists. Because Kerry’s heritage is in dairy, it was possible to source organic and, in some cases, non-GMO dairy, including milk, cheddar cheese, whey and butter. Natural flavors were used and color was replicated through the use of organic annatto extract. These changes meant the removal of modified cornstarch, cheese cultures, lactic acid, sodium phosphate and calcium phosphate, among other ingredients.



The brand released a new, all organic macaroni and cheese to the market. The ingredient list for this reformulated product was shorter than the original and contained a total of 11 mentions of “organic”.

“Within North America, it can be challenging to source organic GMO-free dairy. Because Kerry has a partnership with hundreds of local dairy farmers in Ireland who produce such a dairy supply, we were confident in our ability to fulfill demand for a recipe that required organic milk, cheese, whey and butter”. 

—Eimear Robertson, Kerry Vice President and General Manager of Dairy

The Kerry Difference

Kerry was able to contribute to every step of the project, from ideation and recipe development to ingredient sourcing and supply chain. Our chefs and food scientists created a product with the authentic taste of Kerry’s small-farm dairy.

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