Velveeta Turns 100! (That Cheese Really Lasts)
When you’re in need of some comfort food, nothing satisfies like a crunchy grilled cheese sandwich with that ooey, gooey cheese, preferably made with “liquid gold” a.k.a. Velveeta. That long-tubular box of cheese has been a staple for many family recipes for years, be it mac and cheese, queso chili cheese dip and more. Whenever cheese is involved, Velveeta feels like a warm nostalgic hug. It is hard to believe that Velveeta actually turns 100 years old this year!
While processed cheese was apparently invented in 1918 by Swiss cheesemaker Emil Fry and his Monroe Cheese Company out of New York, he crafted a unique recipe and the Velveeta Cheese Company was born in 1923. The company was sold to Kraft Foods Inc. just a few years later in 1927.
In the ’30s, Velveeta, a processed cheese, became the first of its kind to receive the American Medical Association’s seal of approval. The name Velveeta is meant to share that the cheese is velvety smooth and can be used in a variety of dishes. Some of the later ads compare regular cheese to Velveeta, sharing that it melts better for all types of meals. According to Smithsonian Magazine, studies in the 1930s on consumer cheese preferences discovered that two-thirds of Americans actually preferred processed cheese to natural cheese.
You may remember the jingle, “Colby, Swiss, and Cheddar, blended all together” in the 1980s. Real cheese was used for many years. Now, it is made with milk, fat, whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate, and preservatives. No real cheese in there so the FDA forced Kraft to change the label to “cheese product” instead of a “cheese spread.” Even so, bet you didn’t realize that Velveeta actually doesn’t contain any real cheese these days.
Clearly, Velveeta has expanded over the years. The brand now offers its own kinds of macaroni and cheese, along with its traditional Velveeta cheese. The recipe of Velveeta has changed over the years and we hate to break it to you, it no longer contains real cheese as it once did.
To celebrate its 100th anniversary of bringing cheesy goodness to the masses, let’s take a look at some of the best old advertisements. Let us know how many you remember!