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Product typeProcessed cheese
OwnerKraft Heinz
Produced byKraft Foods
Introduced1918; 106 years ago (1918)
Previous owners

Velveeta is a brand name for a processed cheese similar to American cheese. It was invented in 1918 by Emil Frey (1867-1951) of the Monroe Cheese Company in Monroe, New York. In 1923, The Velveeta Cheese Company was incorporated as a separate company.[1] In 1925, it advertised two varieties, Swiss and American.[2] The firm was purchased by Kraft Foods Inc. in 1927.[3]


In 1888, the new owners of the Monroe Cheese Co., Adolphe Tode and Ferdinand Wolfe, hired former Neuesswanders Cheese Factory’s cheesemaker Emil Frey. While they would see success with one of Frey’s creations, Liederkranz cheese, they still ultimately fell into financial problems resulting in the foreclosure of the property. In 1891, Jacob Weisl purchased the company from the Goshen Savings Bank. Weisl set up a second factory in Covington, Pennsylvania, that made mostly Swiss cheese. He would have the broken pieces of cheese sent up to Monroe hoping to find a way to prevent the waste. It was during this time that Frey began taking broken pieces of cheese back to his house where he spent two years working on a process to make use of them. In 1918 he had his breakthrough, mixing cheese byproducts with the broken cheese bits to form a cheese blend that would become known as Velveeta. The name Velveeta was intended to connote a "velvety smooth" product.[4]

On February 14, 1923, Frey incorporated a separate Velveeta company independent from the Monroe Cheese Co. In 1926, the Monroe Cheese company closed down and one year later Velveeta was sold to Kraft.[5][6] The brand has since been expanded into a line of products including cheesy bites, macaroni and cheese, and cheesy skillets.

In the 1930s, Velveeta became the first cheese product to gain the American Medical Association's seal of approval.[7] It was reformulated in 1953 as a "cheese spread",[7] but as of 2002, Velveeta is labeled in the United States as a "pasteurized prepared cheese product".[8][9]


Nutritional info
Other namesPasteurized Recipe Cheese Product
Source of milkCow
TextureSoft and creamy
Fat content21%
Protein content18%

Kraft Foods lists Velveeta's ingredients as: milk, water, whey, milk protein concentrate, milkfat, whey protein concentrate, sodium phosphate, and 2% or less of salt, calcium phosphate, lactic acid, sorbic acid, sodium citrate, sodium alginate, enzymes, apocarotenal, annatto, and cheese culture.[10][dead link]

Classification as a pasteurized prepared cheese product[edit]

In 2002, the FDA issued a warning letter to Kraft that Velveeta was being sold with packaging that falsely described it as a "pasteurized process cheese spread",[11] The product listed milk protein concentrate (MPC) in its ingredients, which meant it no longer fit any of the FDA's cheese-related definitions. Velveeta is now sold in the US as a "pasteurized prepared cheese product",[12] a term not defined by the FDA.

Marketing and advertising[edit]

Kraft Foods has marketed Velveeta as an ingredient for chile con queso and grilled cheese sandwiches.[13][14] It is sold in the United States, Canada, Panama, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and South Korea. In the 1930s and 1940s, it was sold in the United Kingdom and Germany as "Velveta".[15]

In the 1980s, Velveeta used the advertising jingle, "Colby, Swiss and Cheddar, blended all together" in its US television commercials to explain its taste and texture because real cheese was used in the product at that time.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ “New Incorporations,” New York Times, 15 February 1923 (10,000 preferred shares, 20,000 common shares).
  2. ^ "Everybody Says It's the Finest Cheese in the World (Velveeta/Monroe advertisement)." Goshen (NY) Independent Republican, 9 June 1925.
  3. ^ "Monroe." Middletown (NY) Times Herald, 21 November 1927 ("recently purchased").
  4. ^ Geiling, Natasha. "There is No Shortage of History When it Comes to Velveeta". smithsonianmag.com. Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  5. ^ "Monroe historical society". Monroe historical society. Retrieved February 9, 2024.
  6. ^ "Hudson Valley Magazine". March 19, 2013. Retrieved February 9, 2024.
  7. ^ a b Velveeta Brand History, Accessed December 23, 2010.
  8. ^ "14 Cheesy Facts About Velveeta". April 6, 2016. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  9. ^ Michael H. Tunick (November 27, 2013). The Science of Cheese. Oxford University Press. pp. 161–. ISBN 978-0-19-992231-4.
  10. ^ "Products".
  11. ^ WARNING LETTER CHI-6-03, U.S. Food and Drug Administration to Kraft Foods North America, Inc. December 18, 2002. Accessed February 9, 2010.
  12. ^ "What Is 'Real Kraft Cheese'?", Chicago Business, February 5, 2007. Accessed February 3, 2008.
  13. ^ "Kraft Foods". Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  14. ^ "Kraft Foods". Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  15. ^ "Ciao! price comparison site". Retrieved April 4, 2010.
  16. ^ "Velveeta Cheese Spread (YouTube)". YouTube. Retrieved January 6, 2012.

External links[edit]