Mac n' Cheetos
Three orders of Mac n' Cheetos
|Nutritional value per 5 pieces (115 g)|
|Energy||310 kcal (1,300 kJ)|
|Dietary fiber||2 g|
|Vitamin A||0 IU|
|Energy from fat||120 kcal (500 kJ)|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. |
Source: Burger King
Mac n' Cheetos are a deep-fried cheese-flavored, puffed cornmeal and macaroni and cheese product sold by the international fast food chain store Burger King and the private restaurant chain Sheetz. The food is a combination of macaroni and cheese with the Frito-Lay snack Cheetos. Mac n' Cheetos were first introduced in late June 2016.
The product contained five pieces and initially came with ranch dressing. Depending on supply, it was sold for an eight-week period. Many publications have pointed out that Mac n' Cheetos is part of a larger trend of blending fast foods with well-known snack foods, as well as reflecting the current state of fast food alliances.
In 2015, Burger King entered into a partnership with PepsiCo's Frito-Lay, which also owns the Doritos and Ruffles brands. Mac n' Cheetos marked the first time the Cheetos brand extended beyond chips into hybrid foods.
On June 22, 2016, Burger King announced that they would begin selling the product the next week. The product was initially test-marketed at Burger King restaurants during a product trial in Southern California. Mac n' Cheetos were introduced nationwide on June 27, 2016. In an interview, Burger King president Alex Macedo said, "We’re partnering up with one of Americans’ favorite brands. It's quite unique."
Mac n' Cheetos, including other Burger King products like the recently introduced Oscar Mayer hot dogs, reflects the fast-food alliances restaurants have with other companies. While PepsiCo owns Frito-Lay's Cheetos, the American restaurants sell Coca-Cola beverages. Despite this recent product, Macedo remarked, "It’s not a plan for us to migrate to Pepsi. Our relationship with Coke is as good as it is with PepsiCo." However, Macedo has also said, "We’re working on a few other menu items. There’s room for us to do more together in the future."
Fried macaroni and cheese sans the Cheeto branding has been done before. The Cheesecake Factory sold it. Wayback Burgers, which collaborated with Burger King to produce a Peace Day burger, sold triangular pieces of fried macaroni and cheese.
Other fast food restaurants like Taco Bell have previously employed a similar strategy. In 2010, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) introduced the Double Down as an April Fools' Day joke. In 2012, Taco Bell, which is owned by Yum! Brands, introduced the Doritos Locos Taco, whose taco shell is composed of the Doritos chip. Offshoots followed as Cool Ranch, Nacho Cheese and Fiery Doritos. Consumerist's Laura Northrup compared them to 7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded and Hostess Brands's deep-fried Twinkies sold at participating Walmart locations.
On May 18, 2017, Burger King returned the Mac n' Cheetos to its menu. Burger King president Alex Macedo described the food item as a "triple threat," because it combines Burger King, Cheetos, and macaroni and cheese.
In the summer of 2017, Frito-Lay released Mac n' Cheetos to grocery stores in response to fan interest following the popularity Burger King's limited time releases.
In late November 2017, it was announced that a new flavor, "Flamin' hot Mac 'n Cheetos", would soon be arriving at Burger King. These are based on a spicier variant of Cheetos, and have a spicy red dusting.
Mac n' Cheetos are fried macaroni and cheese bites shaped and colored to resemble Cheetos brand cheese curls. The product contains five pieces and was initially served with a side of ranch dressing. The product is contained in a portable box. Reports varied on the food's appearance. Fox News described them as "bright orange" with a "pretty unusual" shape. The Chicago Tribune's Joseph Hernandez called the color of the menu item "neon-orange". Consequence of Sound's Ben Kaye remarked that they were "new cat poop-shaped fried mac and Cheeto cheese curls". Consumerist's Ashlee Kieler perceived its color as "glowing, orange-ish". The Verge's Dami Lee commented that they were "coagulated orange clumps of processed cheese". Bloomberg News's Leslie Patton said it was "portable macaroni-and-cheese bites are similar to mozzarella sticks". Food & Wine's Mike Pomranz said "Like a car crash, this bizarre mashup is just too intense to ignore."
The Raw Story's Brad Reed saw it as "radioactive-orange" and "Trump-colored", but remarked "do look marginally more appetizing than the terrifying bright-red Whopper Burger King released earlier this year". Vice's Alex Swerdloff noted the product as "a chode-like mass" and resembling "the lovechild of E.T.’s finger and a bloated corpse that was given a spray tan". Yahoo! Style's Claire Lower called them "orange nuggets". The Denver Post's Megan McArdle reported it "bearing the same resemblance to real food as a plastic Lego tree does to a stately elm". The Guardian's Joshua David Stein said the Cheetos crust was "bright orange". The Capital Times's Rob Thomas said they were "five stubby cylinders that look like mozzarella sticks, dusted heavily with orange Cheeto dust".
Fox News Channel's Chew On This enacted a blind taste test for Mac n' Cheetos in the streets of New York City. Reception proved positive. In the web series Juggalos Review Foods, two Insane Clown Posse fans (or Juggalos) tried the Mac n' Cheetos with a more mixed reception. One of the hosts appraised the food product with "this tastes like processed weird gross mac and cheese-like gimmicky piece of crap food item from Burger King".
USA Today's Ted Berg said "they’re not good" but also "not totally awful" either. Kotaku's Mike Fahey said "pleased to report that Mac n’ Cheetos taste much better than they look" but also that they do not taste like the cheese puff but rather like the Kellogg's cracker Cheez-It. Chicago Tribune's Joseph Hernandez described the meal as "gritty, fried nugget of Easy Mac, rolled in the remains of the bottom of a bag of Cheetos". Yahoo! Style's Claire Lower said "I liked them but, maybe this is because my standards for stunt food are much too high, I didn't love them." The Capital Times's Rob Thomas reviewed the interior of the Mac n' Cheetos favorably stating "does indeed have the satisfying cheesy blandness of a container of quick-zapped microwave Easy Mac, salty and starchy". However, Thomas was critical of how it did not taste like Cheetos saying "[i]t’s very disappointing".
When the menu item was brought back in October 2016 by Sheetz, Consumerist's Laura Northrup described them as "orange breaded carbohydrate globs." Fortune's Michal Addady called it "essentially fried mac and cheese coated with flavoring from Cheetos, a PepsiCo brand." Bustle's Claire Warner described Mac n' Cheetos returning via Sheetz as "the Internet basically threw a party."
When the food item returned to the Burger King menu on May 18, 2017, Eater.com's Amanda Kludt described it as "novelty dish and millennial-bait." Brit + Co's Maggie McCracken ranked Mac n' Cheetos #1 on the list "10 Most Popular Mac and Cheese #Cheatday Meals on Instagram" with "a WHOPping (get it?)" 35,000 likes on Instagram. Bustle's Claire Warner said "it sounds like what happens when you accidentally drop a glob of macaroni and cheese into a half-consumed bag of Cheetos resting on your lap, and a few hours later, you decide to eat said glob because it's 2 a.m. and nobody's watching. You already know if this is something you're into."
One serving of Mac n' Cheetos contains 310 calories.
Mac n' Cheetos contains five pieces and was originally priced in Burger King at about $2.50 In New York City, the total cost including New York state sales tax is $3.26. USA Today's Ted Berg was critical of the price choice, as he thought it would be 99¢ at Taco Bell.
When the food item was brought back in October 2016 at Sheetz, it was priced at $2.99. Sheetz offers it available for pickup via the Sheetz Apps menu. However, it costs $3.49 in Altoona, Pennsylvania.
In May 2017, the Mac n' Cheetos was priced $2.69 at Burger King.
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