Mac & Cheese Ice Cream? Two Comfort Foods Blend Together

Ever try “mac & cheese ice cream?” You may not have wondered what this unconventional mash-up would taste like, but you probably do now. Van Leeuwen ice cream has teamed up with Kraft Heinz to create a unique summer treat!

One of the most iconic comfort foods is macaroni and cheese— and it earns a place of honor on July 14th. It’s National Macaroni and Cheese Day! Made with tender noodles, cream or milk, and the golden goodness of cheese, this dish always shines. Likewise, there’s another noteworthy holiday on the horizon. Just four days after National Macaroni and Cheese Day is National Ice Cream Day. Since 1984, Americans have celebrated National Ice Cream Day as a tasty— and treasured— holiday that’s also federally recognized. So, while July marks a mouthwatering month to savor these classics, how come we’re talking about this “odd couple” together? Ever try “mac & cheese ice cream?”

You may not have wondered what this unconventional mash-up would taste like, but you probably do now. NYFTA member Van Leeuwen Ice Cream has teamed up with Kraft Heinz to create a seriously unique summer treat— Kraft Macaroni & Cheese flavored French ice cream. That’s right. Want to know the scoop? Well, let’s dig in!

A Cult-Favorite Partners With a Legendary Brand

Van Leeuwen believes in making good ice cream that also makes you feel good. Since 2008, their ice creams trucks and “scoop shops” have served ice cream that’s all-natural and made from the finest ingredients. With eclectic flavors like Wild Blueberry Shortcake and Vegan Cookie Crumble Strawberry Jam, it’s no surprise that Van Leeuwen is a cult favorite from coast to coast. What started as an innovative idea to create decadent, artisanal flavors has completely elevated the ice cream experience. 

But to be a trailblazer means pushing the envelope. That’s where Kraft Heinz comes in. As Emily Violett, Sr. Associate Brand Manager for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, explains, “We know that there is nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than ice cream. That is why we wanted to combine two of the most iconic comfort foods to create an ice cream with the unforgettable flavor of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese we all grew up with.” Iconic, indeed. For 84 years, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese has fed hungry families on the go and in a snap. 

So, now that we know what brought these two unlikely partners together, one question remains. How does their limited-edition mac & cheese ice cream taste?

 

What Does Mac & Cheese Ice Cream Taste Like?

Well, the exact recipe is a closely guarded secret. But the first thing you notice about the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese ice cream is its soft orange hue. The ice cream’s color palette is reminiscent of the paprika, annatto, and turmeric that makes Kraft Macaroni & Cheese’s elbow-shaped pasta pop! As for the taste? Reviews are coming in, and people are hooked! Rich, creamy, buttery, with just a hint of cheese. Complex and confusing but utterly compelling that one bite won’t be enough. When you step back from the intimidation of such a strange pairing, you’ll find the salty-sweet combination of mac & cheese ice cream unbeatable. 

How Can You Snag a Pint of Mac & Cheese Ice Cream?

The Kraft Macaroni & Cheese flavored French ice cream launches Wednesday, July 14. It’ll be available online on Van Leeuwen’s website while supplies last. If you’re near one of Van Leeuwen’s locations in NYC, L.A., and Houston, you can grab a pint directly. New Yorkers can also try the ice cream for free at an ice cream truck stationed in Union Square on the 14th, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. So, if you’re ready to celebrate both National Macaroni and Cheese Day and National Ice Cream Day, take a bite out of some deliciously creamy and cheesy mac & cheese ice cream.

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Three Times Food Trucks Created Immersive Brand Promotions

Brand promotions with food trucks are perfectly engineered to have customers actively engage with a brand’s identity and its core values.

Experiential marketing can bolster lasting connections between a brand and its target audience. According to a recent Forbes study, 65% of consumers say live events and product demonstrations helped them fully understand a product better. 

While there are a variety of ways to engage and make an impact, food trucks drive real buzz. 

Brand promotions with food trucks are perfectly engineered to have customers actively engage with a brand’s identity and its core values.

 

1. MASTERCARD’S ‘BETTER WAY TO PAY’ 

Companies use immersive brand promotions for many reasons, one of which is to educate and inform. Because there’s no better way for consumers to interact directly with a product than by testing it hands-on. 

As consumers seek new ways to enjoy more convenient ways to checkout for their everyday purchases, contactless payments have become the new way to pay, thanks to its increased speed, safety, and cleanliness. When Mastercard set out to promote its Tap and Go™ contactless technology, its goal was to teach and show busy New Yorkers how much easier commuting can be with a simple tap of their contactless Mastercard.

With the help of a branded food truck and knowledgeable brand ambassadors, Mastercard set-up interactive stations at three busy subway stations in Manhattan and invited consumers to test the speed of Tap & Go™, while also treating them to cuisine provided by James Beard award-winning chef JJ Johnson.

Along with chef Johnson’s delicious and complimentary fare, participants also received free Metrocards just for stopping by and checking out the benefits of learning about Mastercard’s Tap and Go™.

 

2. CAPTURING AUDIENCE ATTENTION AT ADVERTISING WEEK NYC

The world’s premier event for marketing, brand, advertising, and technology professionals: Advertising Week NYC is a networking experience featuring a week of seminars, pop-ups, and workshops attended by hundreds of thousands each year. 

With the industry’s biggest brands and brightest minds in attendance, it’s a tall order to stand out and capture audience attention. For a handful of savvy companies, immersive brand promotions were the key to piquing interest and yielding high demand.

Parked right in front of New York’s Lincoln Square Theater, FOX’s branded Simpson’s truck served hot cups of coffee and the show’s iconic pink-glazed donuts on branded cups and napkins. Nearby, Valassis’ “Make a Scene Caffeine” mobile bar offered hot and cold Nitro brewed coffee, while Ampersand and PubMatic treated attendees to mouth-watering BBQ, tacos, and burritos. And, Quad had dessert covered with a branded ice cream truck featuring flavors like “KPI Pistachio” and “Insight and Analytics Strawberry Jam,” creatively showcasing some of the services they provide.

 

3. THE NIGHT IS YOUNG WITH ADIDAS’ NITE JOGGER LAUNCH

Immersive brand promotions are designed to turn passive consumers into active participants. Upon launching its Nite Jogger footwear line, Adidas wanted to pay homage to its retro roots and bring to life the spirit of those ‘who don’t stop when the sun goes down.’

By hitting the streets of Brooklyn and New York’s Lower East Side, Adidas’ branded truck celebrated Nite Jogger’s launch with a one-of-a-kind experience after dark with brand ambassadors serving complimentary coffee, donuts, and hosting giveaways for excited night owls. 

Adidas’ immersive brand promotion not only engaged with its target audience but also captured the product’s essence; that it’s ‘never too late’ to hit the ground running and pursue your passion.

DRIVING IMMERSIVE BRAND PROMOTIONS WITH NEW YORK FOOD TRUCKS

Immersive brand promotions are experiences that don’t just communicate – they connect. Consumers want brands that speak to them and engage in a personal way. With food trucks targeting the senses, immersive brand promotions are the catalyst for striking B2C interactions that resonate even after an event’s over, helping to drive loyalty and increase sales.

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Branded Food Trucks for a Good Cause

Using a branded truck or food truck can also be the perfect vehicle to say “thanks” or give back to your customers and community in a creative and delicious way. Check out some of these branded food truck activations for a good cause.

Sometimes, your brand doesn’t always have to think about “the bottom line.” You can still win with consumers and build your business at the same time just by giving back and doing good. Check out some of these branded food truck activations for a good cause. 

When we think of experiential marketing our minds generally go to selling or promoting a product, service, new location, grand opening, etc. But, using a branded truck or food truck can also be the perfect vehicle to say “thanks” or give back to your customers and community in a creative and delicious way. 

Ralphs-Coffee-Branded-Truck-MSK
Ralph Lauren serving a cup of Ralph’s Coffee to medical professionals at MSKCC.

 

SHOW YOUR EMOTIONS

Take a look outside and you’ll see we’re living in a “new normal.” With over 73,000 confirmed deaths as of May 7th in the U.S. alone, according to Johns Hopkins University, it is impossible to not be impacted in some way, directly or indirectly, by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

If you were to look up the basic definition of “marketing” you’d find, from Merriam Webster, it means, “the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.” 

Even in a time where over 33 million jobs have been lost, businesses are shuttered, countless states have yet to fully “reopen,” and economic uncertainty prevails, most people are more concerned with their health and safety and that of their loved ones than opening their wallets and spending money. 

That concept flies in the face of what “marketing” is because consumers aren’t prioritizing purchasing in their lives. 

So, how do brands cope? Frankly speaking, how do brands stay relevant and stave off their own financial freefall in a time where one story dominates all our lives, but without coming across as insensitive and tone-deaf? 

If you think about it, experiential marketing, at its core, is emotion-based marketing. It’s a formidable tool that brands can leverage to connect with consumers on a personal level, evoke powerful emotions, and call its audience to action. 

Harnessing experiential marketing with a branded food truck to “give back” and “do good” has the power to promote and endear your brand to consumers in a way that is compassionate, thoughtful, and self-aware. As the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT

Earlier this week, Ralph Lauren dedicated Nurse Appreciation Day to the nurses on the frontlines at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York fighting COVID-19 with a branded food truck serving up free cups of the brand’s Ralph’s Coffee

Ralph's Coffee MSKCC

In 2019, clothing retailer Zara teamed up with JustWater to join in on the celebrations for that year’s annual Pride Parade in New York City. Marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, the parade drew a record 2.5 million attendees across Manhattan. 

With a novel concept to compliment the parade (instead of clashing with it), Zara and JustWater distributed over 9,000 bottles of water to parade-goers to keep them hydrated in the hot June sun that were showcased in a branded Zara glass truck whose interior displayed different colors of JustWater to represent the pride flag. 

Zara Branded Food Truck

Last fall, Quaker Chewy wanted to help kids in NYC get energized for back-to-school with their nutritious granola bars. In partnership with AdoptAClassroom.org, and some added celebrity star-power from Neil Patrick Harris, a branded Quaker Chewy food truck gave away over 500 assorted boxes of Quaker Chewy bars with NPH himself manning the counter

As an added bonus, not only for the activation, but nationwide, for every box code entered, Quaker Chewy donated $1 to AdoptAClassroom.org

Neil Patrick Harris Quaker Chewy Branded Food Truck

 

GIVE BACK WITH A BRANDED FOOD TRUCK

It’s all too easy for brands to get lost in “the bottom line” because the reality is you can’t stay in business if you don’t make money. But, being an active member of your community or showing commitment to a particular cause or organization can pay dividends in the long-run. 

When you can showcase compassion and empathy, you can create brand loyalty. Representing 64% of the world’s total population, Generation Z and Millennials are the most in-demand demographics for brands and marketers. And, a 2018 report published by MNI Targeted Media revealed 56% of Gen-Zers considered themselves to be socially conscious and more than 50% said that knowing a brand is socially-conscious influences their purchasing decisions.

Launching a branded food truck for your business is the perfect way to bring a unique, memorable, and authentic experience to your community, and all for a good cause.

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