Velveeta® cheese is a classic American cheese product known for its distinct light orange color and smooth consistency. This processed cheese is a unique blend that boasts superb meltability and is a popular comfort food. Manufactured by Kraft Foods, Velveeta® cheese has been around since the early 1900s. It is sold in several countries around the world and is known as Kraft Cheddar in some locations.
Grocery stores sell Velveeta® cheese in different size packages that come in a block or in slices. It is available in two formulas: original or 2 percent milk; the 2 percent formula has approximately half the fat content of the original. Flavors include original American cheese, pepper jack and Mexican mild. Other Velveeta® products include shells and cheese and mashed, scalloped or au gratin potatoes.
In some countries, laws require Velveeta® to be labeled a cheese food or cheese product because it is a processed cheese. When making Velveeta®, Kraft combines normal cheese with other ingredients to produce a specific cheese blend. The added ingredients in processed cheese include emulsifiers, which provide the velvety texture that makes American cheese products so rich and easy to melt.
The main ingredients found in Velveeta® cheese include milk, milk protein concentrate, milk fat, water, whey and whey protein concentrate. Sodium products are added as preservatives to lengthen the shelf life of the cheese, and food coloring gives Velveeta® its orange color. Enzymes and cheese cultures are included in the formulas to give the smooth cheese a uniform consistency and soft texture.
Nutritionally, a 1-ounce (about 28 gram) serving of Velveeta® cheese has approximately 80 calories. This serving size contains 3 g of carbohydrates, 6 g of fat and 5 g of protein. Velveeta® has no trans fats and provides a small amount of vitamin A and calcium. One serving also has approximately 25 mg of cholesterol and 410 mg of sodium.
The Kraft Food Corporation introduced Velveeta® as a healthy cheese product that is also affordable and tasty. The nutritional elements found in whey were the basis for creating Velveeta®. Whey is a bi-product of the natural process of making cheese, and it is a main ingredient in Velveeta® cheese. In the 1930s, Velveeta® became the first cheese product to be approved by the American Medical Association.
Kraft designed a distinctive logo for Velveeta® cheese in the early 1960s that is still in use today. The logo features the Velveeta® name in bold, red letters inside a white, oval shape that creates brand recognition. Popular dishes using processed cheese include macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches and cheeseburgers.