It’s taken decades of hawking neon-orange mac ‘n’ cheese, but Kraft is finally starting to realize that most customers prefer their food to be made by actual people with actual ingredients—or at least look like it. As the Associated Press reports, the brand—and other companies consumers have come to know for products that would give Michael Pollan an aneurysm—are investing time and money in making their food look more farmer’s market than flash-frozen.
First up on the chopping block is McDonald’s iconic McMuffin, which is losing its original hockey puck-like shape in favor of a “loose shape.” Also gone are Wendy’s signature square patties; ninety-degree angles “look processed,” so the burgers are now shaped into something called a “natural square.” Most striking, however, is Kraft, which spent a whopping two years and plenty of engineering brainpower making sure that its turkey lunch meat could pass as hand-sliced.
Of course, none of these changes alter the fact that Kraft, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s still make highly processed foods that don’t exactly pass nutritional muster. But as long as they provide what one customer called the “aesthetic quality” of looking handmade, companies can avoid the stigma years of Food, Inc.-style documentaries have attached to processed food (read: don’t expect grass-fed beef in your Big Mac anytime soon). And as the VP of marketing for Chicago’s Hillshire Brands admitted to AP, “Ultimately…the change didn’t really impact the taste.”