Happy, happy, joy, joy

A new, unified look for Kraft’s 50-odd macaroni and cheese products features a smiley-face logo meant to evoke a blue ribbon from a county fair. It replaces a design created in 1999. Source: Landor Associates.

Graphic redesign can be a bear trap for an iconic brand. Doubters need only consider the experience of PepsiCo’s Tropicana, which briefly dropped the orange-and-straw graphic two years ago. The shopper backlash now is regarded as the New Coke of package design in brand-equity circles.

Landor Associates’ Mary Zalla was determined to avoid the same trap while directing an overhaul of Kraft Foods’ macaroni and cheese line. The managing director of Landor’s Cincinnati and Chicago offices conducted a battery of predesign research, including focus groups, eye-tracking studies and purchase-intent interviews, to enhance understanding of what attributes customers associated with the line. Smiles, happiness and joy were the equity emotions, the first of which is evident in the package’s smiley noodle logo.

“A county fair engages the young, adults and families,” explains Zalla. “We were inspired by the metaphor of a county fair and created a brand identity with a circular shape that evokes a blue ribbon.”

Since the last overhaul of Kraft mac and cheese’s box in 1999, the Northfield, IL-based company has made multiple line and brand extensions. Inconsistent graphics led to fragmentation of the core brand. At the same time, private-label versions appropriated the blue and yellow color scheme, robbing Kraft macaroni and cheese of some of its distinction. The new logo, which more closely associates Kraft with the product, is being registered as a trademark..

The smiley noodle also is appearing in an integrated marketing campaign for the brand. “The yellow and blue colors and the Kraft name are the keys,” says Zalla, “and we’re using the noodle to engage people” on billboards and in ads.

For more information: Mary Zalla, Landor Associates, 513-419-2300

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

IPPE 2015

The 2015 International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) was held in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center, Jan. 27-29. More than 30,000 poultry, meat and feed industry representatives attended the event to interact with the 1,288 exhibitors on the show floor that covered more than 490,000 net square feet. At the show exhibitors demonstrated innovations in equipment, supplies and services utilized by firm in the production and processing of meat, poultry, eggs and feed products.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering March 2015 cover

2015 March

In this March 2015 issue of Food Engineering, we explore how a surprise FDA audit could be serious if you're not recording key data.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Plant Facility/Site Issues

What issue about your current plant facility/site keeps you up the most at night?
View Results Poll Archive


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Engineering Food Master 2015Food Master 2015 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.