Sure, Americans love their mac and cheese. But not as much as Canadians. In fact, Canadians love macaroni and cheese, and they love it more than anyone else in the world and consume the most macaroni and cheese per capita!
Why do Canadians love macaroni and cheese so much?
One theory about this is that it has to do with the cold weather. Most of Canada has long, harsh winters, so comfort foods like mac and cheese are a way to warm up and feel cozy. Fair enough – but no one really needs a cold day to enjoy cheesy pasta, do they?
Of course, the dish is also easy to make, affordable, and easily customizable. But that’s why it’s popular in many countries.
The popularity of mac and cheese in Canada is not a recent phenomenon. In fact, Canadians have been eating mac and cheese since the early 1800s, back when it was known as macaroni pudding.
The dish became more widely available in the 1930s with the introduction of Kraft Dinner. But Kraft became a staple in Canadian AND American households. So it’s unclear why Canadians are eating so much more of it.
The rise of Kraft
Kraft Dinner, also known as KD in Canada, is extra popular in Canada. It’s estimated that Canadians consume 55% more KD per capita than Americans consume Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (same product, two different names).
We might not be quite as surprised if this was just about Kraft Dinner. But Canadians also love to make homemade macaroni and cheese. In fact, many Canadian restaurants offer mac and cheese on their menus, with creative twists like lobster mac and cheese or mac and cheese with pulled pork.
Again, Americans do too, but apparently, the country is losing the battle for mac and cheese dominance.
The popularity of mac and cheese in Canada has not gone unnoticed by food companies. As a result, there has been a surge in the number of gourmet mac and cheese products available in Canada.
Of course, this all comes with concerns about the high sodium and fat content of some pre-packaged products. But that never stopped any of us from occassionally indulging.