Kraft Mac & Cheese: A Marketing 50 Case Study

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Photo:Tony Pettinato
After years of touting premium versions of the classic staple, Kraft Foods has reformulated the original blue-box Macaroni & Cheese, tweaked packaging and launched new marketing with the mom-friendly slogan "Mama's in the kitchen making mac 'n' cheese."

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.
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