n. — proprietary, Food
a packaged macaroni and cheese mix (see Image 1).
Type: 4. Culturally Significant — Kraft Dinner was introduced in 1937 in Canada and the US (see the second 2012 quotation). The product was marketed as a new convenience food, taking "only 7 minutes" to cook and serving four people at a cost of less than five cents (see the 1952 quotation). Though Kraft Dinner is an American invention, Canadian consumers quickly embraced the product and its original name (in the US the product is called Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, see also the first 2012 quotation and Chart 1).
Food rationing during World War II further increased the popularity of Kraft Dinner and as women entered the work force its ease of preparation was welcomed.
Kraft Dinner is still a very cheap product and often considered a quintessential food item for university students (see the 2002 and 2006 quotations). However, the term evokes in some the notion of privation because of its prevalence at food banks (see Rock, McIntyre and Rondeau (2009) and see also The Walrus reference and the 1973, 2007 and second 2012 quotations).
The term is not listed in COD-2, Gage-5 or ITP Nelson.
- Kraft Dinner is also commonly referred to as KD (see Chart 2), an initialism that was reportedly coined by Canadian consumers and appropriated by Kraft Canada (see the third 2012 quotation). In 2015 (see quotation), KD became the official name of the product in Canada. In the US the product is called Kraft Macaroni and Cheese or Kraft Mac and Cheese. In Canada, however, Kraft Dinner has become a generic term for any instant macaroni and cheese (see the fifth 2012 quotation).
- 1937  SOMETHING NEW! A MEAL FOR 4
A new combination package by Kraft -- 6 ounces of tender Macaroni and 2 ounces of Kraft Grated Canadian Cheese, ready to make up into a delightful meal in less than 10 minutes. No baking required.
- 1952  MACARONI and CHEESE at its Best!
Made the quick, easy KRAFT DINNER way
You can serve all kinds of appetizing meatless meals, with KRAFT DINNER as your main dish. Each package of Kraft's famous macaroni-and-cheese dish gives you a wholesome main dish for 4 at less than 5 cents a serving. Cooks in only 7 minutes, too!
- 1955  Win menfolks' favor with this delicious macaroni-and-cheese!
You've never met a man that didn't like macaroni -- especially tender fluffy macaroni like Kraft Dinner! And what man can resist the through-and-through cheese flavor that real Kraft Grated gives! That's why so many homemakers choose Kraft Dinner -- a wonderful dish alone, and a perfect harmonizer with other fine foods. Cooks in only 7 minutes --serves four, with man-sized portions. Keep several cartons on hand always.
- 1973  She said persons living on today's welfare rates can afford little more than four soyaburgers a day if they are single, two boxes of Kraft dinner if they are a couple, or two large cans of dog food if they live on a pension. It was no consolation that the dog food was the most nutritious meal.
- 1989  The only redeemable qualities of Kraft Dinner is that it tastes good and, most important, it is cheap. It's [sic] food value is about equal to that of normal pasta and the milk and margarine that is added. I've read that Kraft Dinner has 22 grams of protein, but at best this protein is incomplete.
- 2002  Cheese, in fact, plays a weirdly large dietary role in the lives of Canadians, who have a more intimate and intense relationship with Kraft products than citizens of any other country. This is not a shameless product plug -- for some reason, Canadians and Kraft products have bonded the way Australians have bonded with Marmite, or the English with Heinz tinned spaghetti. In particular, Kraft macaroni and cheese, known simply as Kraft Dinner, is the biggie, probably because it so precisely laser-targets the favoured Canadian food groups: fat, sugar, starch and salt. Most college students live on the stuff, and it's not the same as American Kraft Dinner -- I've conducted a taste test and find there's something slightly chemical and off about the U.S. version.
- 2006  Mom never fully approved of the Kraft Dinner tuna casserole versions of mac and cheese that came along, because they lacked that Velveeta touch. For the sake of history, we had to include the classic feeder -- Kraft Dinner, known as KD to legions of students who love it. This 10-minute wonder has never lost its popularity, or its fluorescent orange colour.
- 2007  (2009)  We have shown that Kraft Dinner means different things to food-insecure compared with food-secure Canadians. Wheras food-secure Canadians tend to associate Kraft Dinner with comfort, food-insecure Canadians tend to associate Kraft Dinner with discomfort.
- 2012  It's understandable that Canadians might display an attachment to homegrown brands like Tim Hortons and Swiss Chalet, but their love of Kraft Dinner can't be boiled down to corporate genealogy.
The boxed noodles-and-cheese dinner, renamed Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in the U.S. not long after its debut in 1937, has always retained the original name in Canada as well as a cult-like following.
While the people at Kraft Canada do not spend a lot of time analyzing why we Canadians eat much more KD per capita than our U.S. counterparts do, they clearly embrace our sentimental attachment to the bright orange food as a decisive marketing opportunity.
When any brand has a different name and brand presence between countries, it ensures that its Canadian marketing and advertising platform is almost certainly a made-in-Canada effort, unlike products with the same name where the ads can be adapted from other markets such as the U.S.
- 2012  "We do a lot of research, and one thing we know is that the Canadian consumer has a vested interest in this brand," says Jordan Fietje, senior brand manager for Kraft Dinner at Toronto-based Kraft Canada. "They have a real sense of ownership over it. They are the ones that called it KD -- We didn't coin that term. We picked it up from consumers."
- 2012  The idea for boxed macaroni and cheese came during the Depression, from a salesman in St. Louis who wrapped rubber bands around packets of grated Kraft cheese and boxes of pasta and persuaded retailers to sell them as a unit. In 1937, the company began to market them as Kraft Dinner, promising to feed a family of four for 19 cents (US). The boxes had a good shelf life and could be kept in a pantry for about ten months; back then, many Canadian households did not yet own a refrigerator.
- 2012  And if you count yourself among the 900,000 Canadians who use food banks each month, you may associate the iconic blue and yellow box with privation: a necessary evil while you wait for your next cheque to arrive, bought with your last dollar, and moistened with your last spoonfuls of milk.
- 2012  This makes KD, not poutine, our de facto national dish. We eat 3.2 boxes each in an average year, about 55 percent more than Americans do. We are also the only people to refer to Kraft Dinner as a generic for instant mac and cheese.
- 2015  Kraft Dinner's KD name change bets money on nostalgia
Canadians have been calling the macaroni-and-cheese dish KD for years, says product's brand director