Cheese Singles: Only in America

Kraft Singles

I recently saw a commercial for Kraft American Singles that was shocking to me. Some of the copy in the spot included “This is America and this is our cheese.” Another statement was “Only in America could we make this cheese.” All I could say was wow.

My first thought, and the point of this post, was that American Cheese represents all that is soulless about American food manufacturing. Kraft is touting a highly-mechanized, plastic-looking product that includes wasteful packaging as emblematic of America. Over 230 years of dynamic national history and pride reduced to an orange processed cheese product.

I’ve watched a lot of episodes of Unwrapped on the Food Network, which shows how processed most American food is, but I have never seen a show about American Cheese singles. I don’t think I would want to see a cheese-related liquid rolled out in sheets or poured in molds, or some other manufacturing process to make these singles. As it turns out, “these ‘slices’ are actually individually poured onto each plastic wrapper and then set to emulsify.”

I did an internet search on American Cheese. According to Wikipedia, the first use of the term American Cheese was used by the British as a derogatory term to refer to what they thought of as inferior Cheddar Cheese made in the former colonies. The term took on a new meaning once James L. Kraft patented cheese processing in 1916 to stop the aging and spoiling of cheese. According to American Heritage, “Kraft stormed the consumer market with an advertising barrage that gave cheese one of its first recognizable brand names. By 1930 more than 40 percent of all the cheese consumed in the United States carried the Kraft label.”

Further inquiry into this quintessential American product yields the government regulation surrounding the terms that can be applied to various forms of processed cheese. Again, from Wikipedia:

In the United States processed cheese is defined, categorized, and regulated by the Food & Drug Administration under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 (Food and Drugs), Section 133 (Cheeses and Cheese Related Products). Pasteurized process cheese can be made from a single cheese or a blend of several cheeses. Cream, milkfat, water, salt, artificial color, and spices may also be added. The mixture is heated with an emulsifier, poured into a mold, and allowed to cool. The definitions include:

  • Pasteurized process cheese (100% cheese which includes “American Cheese” and “Pasteurized process American cheese”), (e.g., “Kraft Deli Deluxe American Cheese”, “Land o Lakes American Cheese”, “Laughing Cow”)
  • Pasteurized process cheese food, which contains at least 51% cheese
  • Pasteurized process cheese product which contain less than 51% cheese and cannot be advertised as cheese by the FDA (e.g. “Velveeta, “Kraft Singles”)
  • Pasteurized process cheese spread (e.g. “Cheez Whiz”)

And drilling down into the processed cheese links more, I discover a product called Milk Protein Concentrate (MPC), an unregulated, non-food product imported from overseas that is taking the place of milk in many American singles. Now I’m not going to get into the family farm debate about this, but even the existence of the debate points to more things about this product that confirms Kraft’s statements in the commercial.

Due to a history of food processing, advertising expertise, government regulations and complex trade regulations, it turns out Kraft American Singles could only be made in America.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInBuffer this page

17 thoughts on “Cheese Singles: Only in America”

  1. I had the exact same response, hence my internet search. Is this really something to be bragging about? Rubbery, flavorless, plastic wrapped sheets of cheese-product. Mind boggling.

  2. I saw this commercial for the first time last night and came across your post while looking for it online so I could send to a friend. She’s about to become an American citizen and I wanted to warn her:)

  3. I was shocked as well…not just from their claim to be “cheese”…but from the blatant propaganda. I will NOT be supporting this brand any further.

  4. I loved it: it’s accurate, cute, and serves as the other-half of a hug we need to give our American selves! We are many things brilliant, enlightened, cutting edge…. but gourmands we are NOT!
    The price for our progress IS our culinary culture: sending our kids to school on a bus with lunch in a metal box & food in plastic wrappers including processed cheese is sooooo disgusting that it’s admirable ….. these are the sacrifices we have made to better mankind! siestas for progress, America…. face-it, advances in Vascular Surgery do not heed to prosciutto and melon antipasti.

  5. I just saw the same commercial and have sent an email to Kraft informing that I will no longer be purchasing Kraft products, since I am not an American.
    Thanks for posting on this!

  6. ——THIS IS UNITED STATES ((((( NORTH AMERICA!!!))))———, PART OF AMERICA!!!!!!!!! …, DOES THAT COMERCIAL MEANS THAT SOUTH AND CENTRAL AMERICA MAKES THIS CHEESE TOO ???, OF COURSE NOT !!! THAT COMMERCIAL IS OFFENSIVE IS MAKE US CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICAN PEOPLE SEE HOW THEY THINK ABOUT THEIR SELVES AND HOW SMALL AND INSIGNIFICANT THE REST OF AMERICA IS FOR THEM.

    NOT TOO LONG AGO I WAS ASKING MY SLEF WHY DOES PEOLPE FROM UNITED STATES CALLED THEIR SELF AMERICANS AND WHY THEY NAMED UNITED STATES AMERICA…!!!!

    THIS COMMERCIAL GAVE ME THE ANWSER.

  7. I think that its’ a tv commerical and obviously, it isnt shown in other countries, we, as any other nation, are proud of our products whether they be processed or not–and every country has one product that is essentially theirs and to reply to monica— you yourself have answered your own question, you said” why do people from the u.s call themselves american?” Because, as you did yourself, the rest of the world does–and your intimating that because of a tv commercial, people in the U.S see the rest of this hemisphere as being non-existent, which is absolutely ludicrous.

  8. I agree. I was appalled at the commercial. American Cheese, is nothing to take pride in. I will take the “cheese with holes” over that crap anyday.

  9. If you are not American than please get of here and If you have nothing better to do than to pick appart a cheese commercial on TV, please get a life.

  10. I saw another commercial like that today, with this tagline: “A country is only as good as its cheese. Good thing ours doesn’t have a bunch of holes in it!”

    Really?

  11. Totally agree with this article. One doesn’t have to go very far to prove the old “Ignorant Self-Righteous American” stereotype true.

  12. I find it funny that people think that this is a hot topic and have to speak out against Kraft…you’re all a bunch of mooks, especially you hershell…

  13. What are you thinking? Your new commercial says what to young people? The girl at the beginning…crossing her chest…signifying what? That if she eats your cheese that she will grow breast? Really…
    Just bought my very last Kraft ANYTHING!

  14. I loved that commercial.. Hope you still play it…Some people just love to make a big deal over nothing. GREAT JOB KRAFT…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *