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Canadian KD vs American Kraft Macaroni and Cheese

american macaroni and cheese vs canadian kraft dinner
The cheesiest showdown involving the iconic Canadian staple defending it's title.

No, it’s not some Mandela effect, Kraft Dinner has only recently changed to KD. The goal; aiming to appeal to millennials who may have outgrown the classic meal. Research showed that the nickname “KD” was already commonly used among Canadians with over 80% recognizing it as short for Kraft Dinner. When new leadership stepped in she asked herself “why do we keep calling it Kraft Dinner if Canadians don’t call it that themselves.” So, in 2015 they removed “raft inner” and become the nickname us Canadians have been using for years. We all have come up with our own favourite nicknames for food, terms of endearment. On the West Coast McDonalds is referred to as Dons, and the opposite side of Canada in Quebec it goes by McDo. Tim’s for Tim Hortons, and I’ve even heard A and Dub Dub for A&W, which isn’t much of a time saver.

Canadians make up 24% of Kraft Dinner’s global sales. That’s right, 1.7 million boxes are sold every week in Canada alone. There are 7 million boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese sold each week worldwide, pretty startling that Canada gobbles up a near quarter of it consistently. So to answer How Much Kraft Dinner do Canadians eat? Nearly 7 million boxes a month. All of Canada’s KD is made in Mont Royal Quebec using mostly Canadian ingredients. It’s one thing that would be continuously produced even if borders closed. However, during the pandemic KD sales shot up 35% due to panic buying of non-perishables, we all went a bit crazy but we can’t blame them. If there was an apocalypse KD would surely disappear before duct tape in Canada. 

Kraft debuted its boxed macaroni and cheese in 1937, selling for only 19 cents and containing four servings. A popular selling point of macaroni and cheese box (besides its shelf life) was the ability to feed your family very affordably. During war times that meant using just one ration for two boxes. Macaroni and cheese has been around since at the very least 1769 and was first popularized in North America by USA president Thomas Jefferson who brought the dish back from Europe. Despite its strange texture from real mac and cheese, Kraft’s different forms of processed cheese found widespread acceptance, and consumers did not seem to mind that it wasn’t natural. In fact, according a food historian fresh milk was considered unpleasant and an “unmistakably bodily secretion.”

What provinces eat the most Kraft Dinner?

In a comprehensive nationwide survey, households across Canada were questioned about their monthly consumption habits when it came to Kraft Dinner (KD) boxes. Interestingly, the results highlighted Prince Edward Island as the frontrunner in KD consumption, with an impressive average of 4 boxes per month. Not far behind, Newfoundland and Labrador exhibited a notable intake of approximately 3.62 boxes per month, while Alberta maintained a close pace at 3.47 boxes.

Securing the fourth position in this KD consumption ranking was Quebec, registering an average of 3.12 boxes per month, followed closely by Manitoba at 3.04 boxes, which secured the fifth spot. On the contrary, Saskatchewan exhibited the most modest KD consumption, with households averaging 2.53 boxes per month.

Considering the nationwide perspective, the study revealed that the average monthly KD consumption across Canada amounted to 3.15 boxes. Interestingly, this represents a decline from levels observed a decade ago

There is not too much data on how much Kraft Dinner the territories of Canada eat, but some have labelled it a “favourite treat” indicating it’s nationwide love.

But enough about history, let’s talk taste.

Weirdly enough Canadian macaroni and cheese has different preparation methods than the American version

American instructions

4 tablespoons of butter

1/4 cup of milk

Canadian Instructions

1 tablespoon of butter

1/3 cup of milk

The Americans call for much more butter but putting that much would have been too dangerous, so we opted to reduce the amount to 2 tablespoons to be fairer. Because everyone knows butter is a cooking cheat code.

cooking macaroni and cheese on the stove

The biggest difference of the packaging is the utensil, the American box pictures a spoon, and the Canadian box features a fork. Through a survey Kraft found that of the 80% of Canadians that eat KD, 43% of them eat it with a spoon, so in March 2023 Kraft developed Spoon KD. It’s just a KD box with a spoon on it, as opposed to a fork that has been on our beloved packages since time immemorial. Now both American and Canadian Mac and cheese boxes will have spoons for some time. The cheese package is branded in Canada, and just a bland white bag in America.


kraft dinner box canada transparaent
american kraft dinner macaroni and cheese box

The taste test: American Kraft Dinner vs Canadian KD

blindfolded American mac and cheese vs Canadian Kraft Dinner taste test

Jason our American and Joseph our Canadian are trying their own county’s Mac and cheese as well as the other’s. In a blind taste test between the American and Canadian versions, both were similar in texture and flavour. One however has a slight metallic tinge to it, a sharpness that’s just not good. While the other has a slight richer taste, a more rounded taste. You’ll be surprised to know the Canadian Joseph and American Jason both agreed on a sole winner. American Kraft Dinner wins the subjective cheesy crown. However, our Canadian friends can take pride in the fact that their KD has a shorter ingredient list, with many artificial ingredients being removed in 2015. Whether you prefer to call it Kraft Dinner or KD, one thing is for sure: this classic comfort food will always have a special place in our hearts (and stomachs).

Pop culture references to Canadian Kraft Dinner

South Park

Fefifofum, I smell Kraft Dinner 

We always love the portrayal of Canadians in South Park, finally our love for Kraft Dinner is being recognized. 

Another quotable line from the two Canadian celebrities Terrance and Phillip “Well, you know what they say, a friend in need is a friend with Kraft Dinner.”

We agree budday.

Kids in the Hall

kids in the hall kraft dinner

While they don’t name the brand Kraft, considering KD has a majority market share, it’s definitely KD. If youre eating mac and cheese, it’s most likely KD unless stated otherwise. This is usually referred to as genericide. When a brand name becomes so popular it becomes a catch-all name for the product, such as bandaids.

In this kids in the hall skit, it’s two young guys who eat nothing but macaroni and cheese with the Canadian edition of Ketchup. The companies notice how much they eat, so they get lifetime supplies of Macaroni and cheese, and ketchup. Of course, a scientist from the loser research foundation also arrives to help with their tapeworms. Fattening up our tapeworms!

Link to the video

K.D Lang

While we aren’t sure about this one, and according to Wikipedia it stands for Kathryn Dawn. It could just as possibly stand for Kraft Dinner Lang. She was born in 1961 in Edmonton Alberta, where they eat a lot of Kraft Dinner. KD Lang is one of Canada’s most famous musicians. As noted above 80% of Canadians know KD stands for Kraft Dinner, so at the very least it was probably the inspiration of her name. Next time you listen to her biggest hit Constant Craving you can thank Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

Barenaked Ladies

In the famous Bare Naked Ladies song “If I Had a million dollars” they reference no longer needing to eat Kraft Dinner. Followed up by the realization they still would, but with fancier ketchups, such as “dijon ketchup”. The image above is from a KD commercial where they give a subtle nod to the line in the song. Then revealing the commercial’s main character is none other than the lead singer of the Bare Naked Ladies.

How much is Kraft Dinner in Canada vs America?

Kraft dinner prices are pretty standard across Canada. Using Walmart as a baseline 225 gram Kraft Dinner boxes retail for $1.57 (4 for $5) across every province. 

Kraft Dinner get’s expensive up north. In Nunavut according to a price comparison survey a box of KD costs $3.5 in Iqaluit 2017. That’s 44% more expensive than any province.

American Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is 7.25oz, which equals to 205 grams. The cost is $1USD per box in Sacremento but $1.12USD in New York. 
Kraft Mac & Cheese, priced at $1.05 USD for 205 grams, becomes about $1.44 CAD for 225g in Canada, with conversion.

American Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is 8% cheaper than Canadian Kraft Dinner.

Kraft Dinner Ingredients VS American Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Ingredients

Kraft Dinner ingredients in Canada:

  • Pasta (From Wheat)
  • Cheese Sauce:
    • Dried Whey (From Milk)
    • Cheddar Cheese
    • Salt
    • Butter
    • Natural Flavours
    • Colour (From Paprika, Turmeric, and Annatto)
    • Citric Acid (Acidulant)
    • Sodium Phosphates

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in the United States: 

  • Enriched Macaroni:
    • Wheat Flour
    • Durum Flour
    • Niacin
    • Ferrous Sulfate (Iron)
    • Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1)
    • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
    • Folic Acid
  • Cheese Sauce Mix:
    • Whey
    • Milkfat
    • Salt
    • Milk Protein Concentrate
    • Sodium Tripolyphosphate
    • Contains Less Than 2% of Tapioca Flour
    • Citric Acid
    • Lactic Acid
    • Sodium Phosphate
    • Calcium Phosphate
    • Paprika, Turmeric, and Annatto (Added for Color)
    • Enzymes
    • Cheese Culture

Comparison: While both products are variations of macaroni and cheese, there are some differences in the ingredients used between Kraft Dinner in Canada and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in the United States. Some key differences include:

  1. Pasta Type: In the Canadian Kraft Dinner, the pasta is labeled as “Pasta (From Wheat),” while the American Kraft Macaroni and Cheese specifies “Enriched Macaroni” with various added nutrients.
  2. Cheese Components: Both products use cheese-related ingredients, such as whey, cheddar cheese, salt, and milkfat. However, there are slight variations in the types of cheese used and the cheese-related components.
  3. Flavouring and Colour: Both products use natural flavours, but the Canadian Kraft Dinner uses a combination of paprika, turmeric, and annatto for colour, whereas the American Kraft Macaroni and Cheese specifies the use of paprika, turmeric, and annatto added for colour.
  4. Additional Ingredients: The American Kraft Macaroni and Cheese contains additional ingredients like tapioca flour, lactic acid, calcium phosphate, and enzymes, which are not present in the Canadian Kraft Dinner.
  5. Nutritional Enrichment: The American version specifically lists added nutrients like niacin, ferrous sulfate (iron), thiamin mononitrate (Vitamin B1), riboflavin (Vitamin B2), and folic acid in the enriched macaroni.

Does Kraft Dinner Expire?

Yes Kraft Dinner expires. But if all the ingredients are un-compromised, kept sanitary and look/smell fine, then the reason to not eat will be more due to quality rather than safety. The dry pasta is the first to go. Dry pasta has a shelf life of 2 years. It won’t become unsafe just rather brittle and not tasty. Kraft Mac and cheese does not bag their pasta so the noodles deteriorate faster than bagged. If there is moisture risk then better to toss the box. Someone please do a test to find if Canadian KD expires quicker than American.

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