Cheez Whiz is a thick processed cheese sauce or spread sold by Kraft Foods. It was developed by a team led by food scientist Edwin Traisman (1915–2007). While many sources give its national debut as 1953, it was advertised by Kraft and retailers in several states late in 1952.
Cheez Whiz is one of a number of "processed cheese foods", a category including some types of individually wrapped cheese slices. These products contain regular cheese that has been reprocessed along with additional ingredients such as emulsifiers and stabilizing agents, such as xanthan gum or carrageenan. These products derive their tanginess and flavor from additional ingredients such as citric acid and flavoring compounds. Annatto is used for coloring.
In some markets, the product has been sold in a narrow jar that tapered towards the base when sold as a spread. When Cheez Whiz is advertised as a dip or a sauce, the jars are larger and more of a squat cylindrical shape.
Cheez Whiz can also be found in "Handi Snacks" products such as Ritz Cheez Whiz 'n' Crackers in Canada.
Cheez Whiz was reformulated in the early 21st Century. The new formula is used for Cheez Whiz Light (15.5 oz) as well as the Original Big Cheese (15 oz). The products' jars were also widened to allow dipping.
^See "Right out of the Kraft kitchen" [5-column trade ad], Lubbock (TX) Morning Avalanche, 7 November 1952, and "Now grand cheese dishes fast" [Kraft 3-column ad], Syracuse (NY) Herald-Journal, 25 November 1952.