- Associated Press - Monday, April 20, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - This is the last year that the original version of Kraft Mac & Cheese sold in the U.S. will contain artificial preservatives or synthetic colors.

In January, Kraft says its macaroni and cheese will be colored using paprika, annatto and turmeric.

There has been a huge shift away from processed foods in the U.S. and larger food producers are trying to follow their customers in that direction.

A Change.org petition begun in March 2013 by food activist Vani Hari, who blogs as the “Food Babe,” asked Kraft to remove dyes from its macaroni and cheese. The petition garnered more than 365,000 signatures.

Already the company is selling a version in the U.S., called Kraft Mac & Cheese Boxed Shapes, which has no artificial flavors, preservatives or synthetic colors.

Kraft said that its other macaroni and cheese varieties sold in the U.S., such as Shapes Cups, Original Cups, Premium Flavors and Easy Mac will have no artificial flavors, preservatives or synthetic colors later next year.

The Canadian macaroni and cheese version, called Kraft Dinner Original, will also eliminate synthetic colors by 2016’s end.

The company said that it has worked for some time to make the changes to the product, but had to ensure that customers would not notice a change in taste.

“We weren’t ready to change the product until we were confident that Kraft Macaroni & Cheese tastes like Kraft Macaroni & Cheese,” the company said.

Kraft Foods Group Inc. is based in Northfield, Illinois.

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