With only minor differences in color and taste, both are great comfort foods – warm and mushy. The major difference is the price, with the Kraft product costing $1.00 on sale and the ALDI product 29 cents on sale. To my tastes the Kraft product was very slightly tastier and cheesier. But there wasn’t much difference at all. Perhaps as an adult my taste buds have dulled some, but neither product tasted as cheesy as I remember from way back when.
ALDI’s Cheese Club has a mild, sweetish flavor that’s not especially cheesy. But it’s a nice flavor in its own right. The cheese packet mix had a strange pink cast to it, but still produced a medium yellow/orange color when combined with the other ingredients.
The Kraft cheese packet mix had a cheesier aroma. The color of the mix was a glowing yellow/orange. When cooked the product has a lighter yellow color. The flavor was also mild with a slight cheesy taste predominating.
Both were cooked according to the package directions. Eight minutes cook time was sufficient for both macaronies. After the macaroni was drained; unsalted butter, 2% milk and the cheese packet mix were stirred into the hot macaroni. The cooking directions for both products are essentially the same.
Which one is better? For me, either one would be fine. They’re both good, with a slight edge towards Kraft. But, I’ll be buying neither one simply because they’re both too good. The temptation to eat the whole pot in one sitting is too great for my sedentary adult body to resist.
That raises the question, is this type of food healthy? With relatively high carbohydrate, fat and calorie values, some might say this is not a healthy food choice. My personal philosophy for healthy food choices is, eat what your body needs, but not more than needed – of anything. Keep in mind that what’s needed will vary between; different individuals, with different activity levels and at different ages. Given that kind of food moderation, this type of food is likely neither inherently a healthy or unhealthy choice. There may be better choices for providing your bodily needs, but that’s a different question for a different day.
Since both products require other ingredients to fully prepare, the calorie and nutrition values will vary depending on the type of milk and type of butter or margarine used in preparation. That probably explains the listed prepared calorie differences below. Both products list 250 calories per serving as packaged in the box. But it’s pretty unappealing to eat an uncooked, unflavored macaroni.
ALDI – Calories 390 per serving prepared – Price 29 cents on sale (33 cents regular price)
Kraft – Calories 350 per serving prepared – Price $1.00 on sale (unknown regular price)