Goodles Offers Adult Mac and Cheese Lovers a Better-for-You Alternative

Goodles Offers Adult Mac and Cheese Lovers a Better-for-You Alternative

While mac and cheese tends to be marketed towards children, Goodles target audience is young adult consumers making purchasing decisions based on their health. Photo courtesy of Gooder Foods.

There’s a new macaroni and cheese on the market, and it claims to be “gooder” than the rest. Mac and cheese brand Goodles launched Tuesday after its parent company, Gooder Foods, raised $6.4 million in funding from various venture capital firms and private investors. So, how does Goodles differ from mac and cheese legends Kraft and Annie’s, and where will it fit into the $4.4 billion dry noodle category?

For starters, Goodles recognizes that even though mac and cheese has been advertised to children for decades, adults enjoy it too. In fact, nearly 60 percent of adults eat at least one noodle dish per week, and the company found that 85 percent of young adults aged between 24 and 36 regularly eat mac and cheese. The Goodles team found an untapped market for adult mac and cheese lovers and formulated the flavors and nutritional profile specifically for them.

The brand’s products are packed with 14 grams of protein, prebiotics and 21 different organic ingredients, including kale and mushrooms. They are also free of artificial flavors or preservatives and have 25 percent fewer calories than Kraft’s mac and cheese. Goodles launched with four flavors: Cheddy Mac, Shella Good (white cheddar shells), Mover & Shaker (inspired by cacio e pepe pasta) and Twist My Parm (asiago and parmesan spirals). To catch the eyes of young adult consumers, the boxes feature bright colors and minimal typefaces.

Related: Better Bagel: The Low-Carb, High-Protein Bagel That’s “Changing the Grain”

Even though Goodles is just breaking ground in the mac and cheese market, its founders are well-versed in the space. The company’s founding team includes former Kraft executive Paul Earle, Annie’s co-founder and former president Deb Luster and actress Gal Gadot. The team is going after the two oldest players in the space, Kraft and Annie’s, which have been around for 83 and 30 years, respectively. The lack of innovation in the space inspired Gooder Foods to tackle the category with a fresh and modern approach.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company was unable to stage conventional taste tests. Instead, Gooder Foods created an online community and shipped out thousands of small bags of mac and cheese for consumers to try. In fact, the company developed more than 1,000 versions of noodles to get the taste and consistency just right. Part of the $6.4 million in funding will be put towards efforts to launch direct to consumers (DTC), inventory, branding and marketing. Though the focus is on DTC, the brand has plans to for national distribution via other channels.

Goodles is not the only company boosting the nutritional profile of mac and cheese. Last week, Danone-owned plant-based innovator Follow Your Heart announced it was entering the category with dairy-free SuperMac, made with organic vegetables, cashews and beans. Banza, which produces chickpea-based foods, also sells a mac and cheese with 15 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. However, Goodles says it is the first mac and cheese brand to be granted the “Purity Award” from the Clean Label Project, which a company can win by sending its product to a lab to test for over 400 toxins and contaminants.

Hoping to attract young adult consumers making purchasing decisions based on their health, Goodles is on the right track. Consumers can get on a waitlist to purchase each of the four flavors in packs of four, 12 or 24 for $20, $51 and $84, respectively, as well as variety packs of four and 12.