Unpacking Kraft Lunchables

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Product: Kraft Oscar Mayer-brand Turkey + Cheddar Sub Sandwich Lunchables

Online product description: Turkey made with 100% turkey breast, Kraft 2% Cheddar and bread made with whole grain, these tasty subs come with Tree Top® Applesauce, Mini Nilla Wafers, spring water and Tropical Punch Kool-Aid Singles.

Pieces of packaging: ~9 (judging from photo)

Better Solutions logo on package: “Watch for this logo to find our better for you products.”

Marketing buzz: Try our new, wholesome Lunchables—now with spring water and applesauce—packaged in a cool new look that lets you see all the good stuff inside!

Selected contents of “good stuff inside”
Sub bun: dough conditioners (mono & diglycerides, sodium stearoyl lactylate, enzyme modified soy lecithin, datem), salt, guar gum, modified cellulose, calcium propionate (preservative), xanthan gum, artificial flavors.
Oven roasted turkey breast: potassium lactate, modified corn starch, salt, dextrose, carrageenan, sodium phosphates, sodium diacetate, sodium ascorbate, sodium nitrite, natural and artificial flavor, smoke flavor, caramel color.
Reduced fat cheddar pasteurized prepared cheese product: milkfat, sodium citrate, milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, lactic acid, sorbic acid, salt, starch (for slice separation)
Nilla wafers: sugar, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, natural and artificial flavor, salt, mono- and diglycerides (emulsifier).
Nonfat mayonnaise dressing: modified cornstarch, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, cellulose gel, artificial color, xanthan gum, phosphoric acid, cellulose gum, yellow 6, blue 1.
Tropical punch artificial flavored soft drink mix: sugar, fructose, natural and artificial flavor, calcium phosphate (prevents caking), acesulfame potassium and sucralose (sweeteners), artificial color, red 40, blue 1.
Calories: 370 (roughly 1/4 to 1/3 of the American Heart Association’s recommended intake for kids under 9)
Sodium: 590 mg (roughly 1/2 the Institute of Medicine’s recommended daily limit for kids under 9)
Sugars: 32 g (For kids, the AHA recommends a 12 g daily limit.)

Good stuff in my daughter’s lunch box this morning: half a peanut butter, jelly, and banana sandwich in an unbleached wax-paper sandwich bag (on whole grain bread, 100% ground peanuts without additives, minimally processed raspberry preserves, 1/4 banana); one container of Wallaby lemon yogurt (lower sugar than most brands) with reusable spoon; roasted, lightly salted whole almonds in a reusable container; sliced apple in a reusable container; stainless steel water bottle.

Kraft’s marketing advice: “Try wholesome & nutritious lunches for kids.”

My parenting advice: Try making “wholesome & nutritious lunches for kids.” Just as these youngsters made their very own 30-second Lunchables spot. Oh, and then there’s this enterprising young man.

Follow Michael Mechanic on Twitter.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend