When a company makes changes to its products, there is usually a massive rebranding process and an accompanying fanfare of marketing trumpets; however, Kraft took a novel approach recently when it amended the recipe for its famous Mac and Cheese and told no one. When it comes to cheese we all love it and what better place to have it than on pizza. An Italian restaurants in Dublin company know how cheese tastes on pizza and how much to put on. You can see the types of pizza they offer on sites like forno500.ie where you could your perfect meal experience.
Although the company had informed customers that all artificial flavourings and colourings would be removed from the product at some point, it did not tell consumers when this would happen. Close inspection of the new ingredients label on the box would have shown that colourings and flavourings were now natural, but no one noticed.
Kraft eventually announced the recipe changes after 50 million boxes had been sold and no one had commented on a change in the flavour. By using very clever marketing psychology to manage the change process, the company has attracted a massive amount of attention and its marketing campaign has gone viral.
This novel approach was used to minimise anticipated criticisms by consumers; had they been aware of the changes, they may have perceived differences in flavour. By not telling people their favourite macaroni cheese product had changed, the company successfully introduced the new ingredients without any criticism or loss of sales. Essentially customers were used as blind tasters, and it worked.
The psychology of change
Apparently a quirk in our psychological make-up means that when we are alerted to change and are looking for it, we notice changes that may not even have occurred. Kraft had read a report revealing that when people are told there will be a healthier and more natural version of a favoured product, there is an expectation that the flavour will not be as good; in fact, when the company announced that it was considering making amendments to its recipe, there were comments expressing exactly these concerns. This prompted the secrecy.
The marketing ploy has attracted widespread attention and may provide inspiration to companies looking to buy food machinery.
Kraft listened to its customers’ initial concerns and decided to work with them, but without telling consumers until after the event to prevent negative comments having a detrimental impact on sales. The campaign has engendered positive feedback and enthusiasm from consumers, who recognise how clever the approach was.