Since then, Kraft Foods has posted four consecutive quarters of share gains for the product, which had been languishing. Kraft dry macaroni and cheese mixes have boosted sales by 11.8% this year, as of Oct. 5, to $167.9 million, according to Information Resources Inc.
Kraft now sells more than 1 million boxes of the product each day. Kraft Foods CEO Irene Rosenfeld continually links Kraft Macaroni & Cheese to her company's resurgence in 2008.
The marketer has "made a significant improvement in quality across our Kraft Macaroni & Cheese products by focusing on the cheese -- which is what consumers especially love about our product," says Mary Sagripanti, senior director-dinners at Kraft Foods.
The executive adds that advertising from DraftFCB, Chicago; line extensions; and promotions have been key to the 2008 marketing plan.
Classic Macaroni & Cheese has become a point of departure for extensions such as Kraft Macaroni & Cheese crackers as well as Italian- and Mexican-flavor versions of the popular pasta product. "We are thrilled by the results," says Ms. Sagripanti, 43.
The product improvements probably couldn't have come at a better time.
With trouble in the economy, more consumers are trolling supermarket aisles for convenience and value. As Macaroni & Cheese fits both needs, it's given investors another reason to look favorably on Kraft as it negotiates a tricky turnaround.