Velveeta is one of the United States’ most popular brands of cheese today. The product was first introduced in 1918, and now over 100 years later it still proves to be incredibly popular as an additional source of flavor for a good cheeseburger or as a sauce for Macaroni and Cheese.
Velveeta also makes a wide range of extra delights, like shells and cheese, and cheesy bites, which you can quickly slam in the microwave for a quick hit of cheesy goodness.
But one of the pervading questions when it comes to Velveeta is whether or not it can actually be classified as a cheese. Still to this day, many people are unsure whether Velveeta actually contains any cheese at all, and how they are able to create such a great taste if not.
If you’re reading this, you’ve likely asked this question yourself, and are desperate for a definitive answer to this modern quandary. Despair no longer, and join us as we answer this question once and for all, to find out if Velveeta really is cheese, as they claim to be…
Is Velveeta Cheese Actually Cheese?
Technically, the answer to this question is no. Cheese, as many know it, is made by coagulating milk until it takes on a more solid form. Cheese is made up of the fat and proteins from milk, which is how it is able to have such a rich and satisfying taste.
Unlike real cheese, Velveeta is not developed from milk. Instead, Velveeta is made up of whey protein, milk protein, fat, and preservatives. Many cheese purists would view this as a disgrace to the art that is cheese-making, but for many, this mix of ingredients is how this product has managed to maintain such staying power in American culture, its taste.
There is a small amount of cheese in some of Velveeta’s products. Some of them contain amounts of cheddar, to give it a slight stretchiness that is characteristic of the cheese. However, including cheddar in the ingredients for Velveeta does not make it a cheese, Adding cheddar to Velveeta merely makes Velveeta a product made from cheese.
Was Velveeta Ever Made From Real Cheese?
Yes. When the product was first developed it was made entirely from real cheese. The idea behind the product was to help make real cheese last a lot longer, and for cheese to be made in bulk to satisfy customer demand. However, as the popularity of the product grew, using actual cheese to create Velveeta slowly became unfeasible and too costly.
From that point, and still to this very day, Velveeta now contains very little content of actual cheese. It was only around 2002 that Velveeta had to begin labeling their products as “Cheese products.” This is because the FDA forced the Kraft corporation to change the labels from “Cheese spread”, which implied that the cheese was genuine.
Why Does Velveeta Contain No Real Cheese?
This is very likely to be because of costs. Creating pasteurized cheese for mass-market consumption would be very costly if it were done with real cheese. Thus, Velveeta makes use of a mix of whey proteins, fat, milk concentrate, and preservatives. This helps the product to be easier and cheaper to mass-produce, and also ensures that the product lasts much longer.
Whey is actually a byproduct that is created during the production of cheese, hence how it is able to create the distinct taste of cheese without Velveeta even having an ounce of the real stuff.
Can People With a Lactose Intolerance Eat Velveeta?
Unfortunately, even though Velveeta contains no real cheese, this doesn’t mean that it is safe for consumption by people with lactose intolerance. Despite everything, Velveeta actually has a large amount of lactose content.
In fact, when compared to many real kinds of cheese, Velveeta actually contains a whopping 9 percent lactose content. This number may seem small initially, but when compared to many genuine and popular kinds of cheese, this number is massive. Most ordinary cheeses contain between 3 to 5 percent lactose content!
If you have lactose intolerance, there are far better options to try if you do want to satisfy a craving for cheese!
Are There Any Processed Cheeses That Do Count As Actual Cheese?
If a cheese product is processed, then it is very likely to actually contain less cheese than a piece of real cheese. This is because they will contain preservatives and additives to control the flavor and to allow the product to last on store shelves.
This is why, officially, many processed kinds of cheese are not considered to be real cheese. However, many ordinary people would still believe them to be cheese, thanks to the taste and color that is usually characteristic of cheese.
What Does A Cheese Need To Be Considered “Real”?
There are no standard criteria that a type of cheese must meet to be considered real cheese. For many people, Velveeta is real cheese, because it meets their personal criteria for what real cheese is. Hence it is very difficult to definitively say whether a type of cheese is real.
However, most would accept that if a cheese product contains a low content of actual cheese, say below 50% actual cheese content, that it is not a real cheese. Velveeta falls way below this 50% mark, so it would be difficult for anyone to claim that Velveeta, objectively, is a type of real cheese.
So there you have it. While the criteria for a real type of cheese may be flimsy, it is enough to show that, definitively, Velveeta is not actually cheese.
However, the taste, sight, and smell of Velveeta is close enough to many people’s mental image of cheese, that, for many, it would be considered a type of cheese, hence why they are still able to advertise it as such.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why You Should Never Eat Velveeta?
Velveeta is incredibly high in calories, sodium, and fat content. This makes it incredibly unhealthy, and should only ever be enjoyed as part of a well-balanced diet, and even then it should only be eaten in moderation.
Many cheese enthusiasts would also claim that you shouldn’t eat Velveeta because it doesn’t compare to real cheese.
Does Velveeta Cheese Have Milk In It?
Velveeta cheese does not contain any percentage of real or fresh milk within. However, it does make use of milk protein concentrate in its recipe, which is how it is still able to have a high content of lactose.
Is Velveeta Cheese Gluten Free?
Velveeta cheeses themselves contain no ingredients with any gluten content within. This makes it very safe for people in the gluten-free community to eat.
However, Velveeta’s range of macaroni and cheese products will contain gluten.
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