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Is There A Real Difference Between Kraft Dinner And Kraft Macaroni & Cheese?

Of all the foods Americans love, macaroni and cheese ranks pretty high. And for both kids and grown ups still eating like kids, macaroni and cheese is practically synonymous with the Kraft boxed brand. As the Chicago Tribune writes, "many who grew up on mac and cheese may never have had a version that wasn't made with a powdered mix." The U.S. has been hooked on Kraft Macaroni & Cheese since the years of World War II, when it was one of the only affordable ways to feed a family. And judging by the recent craze over Kraft Macaroni & Cheese flavored ice cream, people's devotion to the blue box still holds strong to this day. 

Given all of this, it might come as a shock to learn that there is a country that loves mac and cheese even more than we do: Canada. Yes, Canadians eat 55% more mac and cheese per year than Americans do, and even their prime ministers have confessed their love for the stuff. 

In the states, those blue boxes say Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, but in Canada it's called Kraft Dinner — or "KD" for short. Aside from the name, the boxes look very similar. But is there a difference between the U.S. and Canadian versions?

These ingredients are what sets the two apart

According to the Kraft Mac & Cheese website, its ingredients include macaroni, vitamins like iron and riboflavin, and a "cheese sauce mix." That cheese sauce includes whey (which U.S. Dairy says is the liquid leftover from cheesemaking), milkfat, salt, and tapioca flour, plus turmeric and annatto, which are spices that give mac and cheese its signature orange color. The ingredients in Canadian Kraft Dinner look similar at first: pasta, cheese sauce, and the same spices for color (via Amazon). However, two ingredients in Kraft Dinner are noticeably absent from the American version: Cheddar cheese and butter. 

On its website, Kraft shares that they make their own cheese, use it to make cheese sauce, and then dehydrate the sauce to make the packet of cheese powder. There's no indication as to what flavor the Kraft-created cheese is, but considering that the company makes Kraft Singles and Velveeta it goes to figure that a similar product is used for their macaroni and cheese. 

So does Canadian Kraft Dinner have a flavor advantage with the inclusion of savory cheddar and rich butter? It's hard to say, because when BuzzFeed held a taste test between the two, Canadians overwhelmingly chose Kraft Dinner and Americans stuck with Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. So perhaps "best tasting" has less to do with the ingredients and everything to do with which one you grew up eating.