7 Cheese Brands That Use the Lowest Quality Ingredients
Cheese has been a staple food of many cultures for thousands of years. It was reportedly enjoyed by the Ancient Egyptians and Romans, served at royal banquets across Medieval Europe, and on the story goes.Today, many types of cheese are elevated, gourmet foods prized for their provenance and quality. Indeed, many kinds of cheese are recognized as foods of "Protected Designation of Origin," meaning that they are proudly made in a specific region, and thus, are of a certain quality.
Then, on the other hand, there are the cheap, highly manufactured, and questionably edible cheeses that you can find lining the aisles of your local grocery store. Unlike the rich, natural, and delightful cheese you may find produced in Puglia, Camembert, or parts of Vermont, the following cheese brands are heavily processed, far from healthy, and, in many cases, may not even technically count as cheese.
Read on for the 10 cheese brands that use the lowest quality ingredients. Plus, also skip these 10 Crackers to Always Leave on Grocery Store Shelves.
To be fair, nowhere on any of the packaging of Kraft Singles does this product claim to be cheese. Sure, it says it's great for making grilled cheese, and it calls itself an "American cheese product," but that's a specific term for a food product that is not actual cheese. Cheese is the first listed ingredient, but it's followed by about 15 more low-quality ingredients.
The packaging of this cheese-adjacent product states it's "cheddar flavor," not cheddar cheese, so that's your first warning. The ingredients listed on the back include potato starch, cellulose powder to prevent the cheese from gumming into a mass, gelatin, milk protein concentrate, modified food starch, and many, many more.
Cheese should not come from a can. It should not be light and fluffy and a shockingly bright orange color. Yet, that's what you'll get with a can of Easy Cheese, which describes itself as: "Made from milk, whey, and real cheese culture for authentic cheddar flavor." This is not an authentic cheese.
Great Value American Singles
The health stats here are rough: this Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product has, in one slice, 70 calories, five grams of fat, three grams of saturated fat, 270 milligrams of sodium, a gram of sugar, and just three grams of protein. And most of those "nutrients" come from low-quality ingredients and preservatives.
When a product intentionally misspells the very word that should anchor its name, watch out. We're looking at you, Cheez Whiz. Nowhere in the ingredients will you find the word "cheese," save for "cheese culture," which comes near the end of the list. Corn syrup, milk fat, colors, mustard powder, and other odd ingredients also make an appearance.
Président Wee Brie
Take a close look at the label of this ostensible fancy European import and you'll see not all is as legitimate as Président would have you believe: This is not a true Brie cheese at all, more a brie-flavored cheddar hybrid. The first ingredients are brie and cheddar cheese, while the rest of the ingredients are, nonfat milk, sodium polyphosphate, sodium phosphate, salt, citric acid, and nisin.
Kraft Parmesan Cheese
The front of this bottle of dry parmesan cheese states "100% Grated," as if that's a selling point. But this grated cheese is made up of parmesan, cellulose powder (yes, wood powder), and potassium sorbate. A lawsuit was actually brought against Kraft and others for allegedly deceiving consumers with the "100% Grated" label, but it was tossed out. Still, this product certainly contains some low-quality ingredients that you wouldn't expect to find in any kind of cheese. Grate real Parmesan cheese for a more authentic and healthier product.