kraft macaroni cheese

Kraft Heinz is gearing up for a major UK push for its $1bn Kraft Macaroni & Cheese brand, with a new range of frozen ready meals about to roll into British supermarkets.

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese ambient products have to date been available only as imports in the UK, with limited distribution in the mults. The new range will be made in Kraft’s Dundalk factory in Ireland and - while the products have a clear American theme - is formulated specifically for British tastes.

It marks the first foray for the Kraft brand into frozen ready meals, and will be available in classic, chipotle, bacon and chorizo variants (rsp: £1.99/380g). The launch will be supported with a “significant” marketing campaign focused on in-store activity from July.

The new ready meals would tap growing consumer demand for US flavours and “convenient indulgent” food, said senior brand manager Matt Mill, adding he was confident the range would “perform extremely well” and boost category value.

“As consumers become increasingly adventurous, consumption of American dishes has increased by 23.4% in the past four years,” he said.

The ready meals are the first UK launch under the Kraft brand since the company merged with Heinz last July. Mill said it was now exploring further opportunities to launch Kraft-branded products in the UK, with Kraft Macaroni & Cheese only signifying the “start of its presence in the UK”.

Sales of frozen ready meals rose 3.3% to £359.7m last year, on volumes up 0.7% [Nielsen 52 w/e 10 October 2015].