Friday, October 9, 2009

Macaroni & Cheese PLEASE!!!!!!

As I mentioned a couple of blog posts back, I got out to a Price Chopper store last week to help with an upcoming news story on NuVal. It was great to walk the store and see over 10,000 NuVal scores on their shelves. While I work for NuVal and get to see scores all the time, it really hits home when you can see them on the supermarket shelf and see how the products you like score.

And that is when I saw it. The product I have been tossing into my cart for over a year now in a quick attempt to avoid a mid-aisle meltdown: Scooby Doo Macaroni & Cheese. OK, I will confess. It is not just Scooby Doo who makes it into my cart. It's SpongeBob Square Pants, Pokemon and Spider Man too. Back when the kids were smaller, before they had been sucked in by the power of Marketing to Children, we used to buy Annie's Macaroni & Cheese. Once I started working for NuVal (but before we at NuVal had started scoring products in the Macaroni & Cheese category), I was pretty sure that Annie's really wasn't going to score much better. So I succumbed to the whine of "Mooooooommmmmm! Can we get Scooby Doo Macaroni and Cheese? Please!!!!!!!!" and bought it. It also does the trick on especially busy weeknights when I need there to be few fights at the dinner table.

So, (drum roll please), here you go, the scores my Mommy friends have been waiting for:

Kraft SpongeBob SquarePants Macaroni and Cheese: 4
Kraft Spiderman Macaroni and Cheese: 5
Kraft ScoobyDoo Macaroni and Cheese: 5
Kraft Easy Mac: 8

Now, Kraft does have 2 products that get a slightly better score.

Kraft White Cheddar Shell Macaroni and Cheese: 10
Kraft Whole Grain Elbow Macaroni and Cheese: 18

That's great. But my kids want the ones with SpongeBob, Spiderman, and Scooby Doo!

And as for Annie's, my instincts were right. The regular Annie's Macaroni and Cheese does not score any better than Kraft. And the Annie's Whole Wheat version scores only slightly better than Kraft.

Annie's HomeGrown Cheddar Cheese Regular Macaroni and Cheese: 5
Annie's HomeGrown White Cheddar Shell Macaroni and Cheese: 5
Annie's HomeGrown Whole Wheat Shell Macaroni and Cheese: 21

Now, I know that some of my Super-Mommy friends will leave me comments with their recipes for homemade macaroni and cheese that has butternut squash in it and wheat germ too. That happened to me on CafeMom back when I wrote about Pepperidge Farm Goldfish vs. Annie's Cheddar Bunnies. A mom wrote in and gave me her recipe for making her own "Fishies" from scratch. Yes, she shaped them into little fish. I am not making this up. Of course you could make your own Macaroni and Cheese and with the right ingredients, it would be healthier. Use a Whole Wheat Pasta, use a reduced fat cheese or a veggie slice alternative. Check out some NuVal Cheese scores here and let your imagination run wild. But that is not the point! The point is that you are busy and your daughter has gymnastics and your son has cub scouts and you need to finish that thing for work and oh yeah, you need to get dinner on the table and get your kids to eat it quick so that everyone can back out the door for aforementioned activities.

You know what, you're better off making a grilled cheese with a good 100% whole wheat bread!


  1. Well now I'm happy that my daughter doesn't even like mac n cheese!

  2. The cheese comes in a powder...a fact which I've always been disturbed by - reminds me of food astronauts bring to space or that the army gives to those trying to survive in the desert. Glad the NuVal Score confirms my fears.

  3. Life is not fair. I was hoping for a score of at least 99.99%. I love my Kraft!!! (still gonna eat it)

  4. I know NuVal hasn't scored Trader Joe poducts yet, but they make a whole grain elbow instant mac n cheese that I'm guessing must do at least as well as Annie's and tastes great, not to mention it can be made in the microwave in 3 minutes.