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The History of Velveeta Cheese

What is Velveeta Cheese? The United States Food and Drug Administration categorized it as pasteurized process cheese spread. A company in New York first made it in 1918. This company, the Monroe Cheese Company had employed a young cheese maker by the name of Emil Frey. He was trying to help the company he worked for find a way to dispose of the excess whey. Whey was a waste product that was made as a result of the cheese making process. Frey was working on another idea when he accidentally stumbled on a combination of the whey and another cheese that when mixed together created a smooth, almost velvety cheese material. That is of course why it was given the name Velveeta Cheese, because of the consistency.

It could not be called cheese, but there was something about it that all the cheese companies wanted. Each one, using its own brand name, sued the others to be the only one permitted to make this popular new product. In the end Kraft Foods, which had their own brand, simply bought out the others. So in 1927 they became the owners of Velveeta Cheese.

Since then they have taken the product and sold it throughout the United States and Canada. They have added different spicing to it to make more varieties of it. Over the years they have made changes to the consistency, changing it into more of a spread. In the 1950s they played with different sized packages trying to see what appealed to the consumer. In 1984 Kraft launched a Velveeta Cheese macaroni product. This was followed the next year by cheese slices. Keeping with the times in 1990 they introduced a microwavable version. As recently as 2003 they introduced a salsa dip.

Even to this day the process cheese spread know by thousands as Velveeta Cheese is a controversial product and one that is kept a close eye on. Some say that it has less cheese than when it started out. Others feel that it does not matter as long as it tastes good. I wonder what Emil Frey would say.