Many cheeses in the US are vegetarian, as they use a microbial rennet source. Still, there are places that use animal-derived rennet sources. Products made with animal-derived rennet sources are not vegetarian. Rennet that comes from an animal is from the stomach lining of a slaughtered cow, sheep, or goat. Some places also use rennet derived from slaughtered pigs. So to answer the question that many people have:
Is Kraft macaroni and cheese vegetarian? No, it is not!
Here is the statement from the company regarding the enzymes used in Kraft macaroni and cheese:
"The enzymes used to make our cheese powder in packages of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese are derived from an animal source (calves, goat and sheep) and also microbial sources. "
Kraft macaroni and cheese is not vegetarian, because they use rennet derived from the stomach's of slaughtered cow, sheep, and goat.
The good news is that today there are many great vegetarian alternatives that are also vegan and readily available in the stores! If you want a vegetarian boxed macaroni and cheese (that is not vegan), opt for the Annie's brand macaroni and cheese. According to Annie's FAQ:
"Our enzymes are sourced from both animal sources and vegetarian sources.If the ingredient statement on the package lists "enzymes," it is likely derived from an animal source.
If the ingredient statement lists "non-animal enzymes" or "microbial enzymes," then the enzymes are from a vegetarian source."
You can look at the ingredient list on Annie's boxed macaroni and cheese and they say "non-animal enzymes" right on the list. So you know their macaroni and cheese is vegetarian.
There are also numerous companies putting out vegan boxed macaroni and cheese today. You can even find it at places like Walmart, Target, Publix, and other mainstream grocery stores. Try the different brands to find your favorite, including Daiya Cheezy Mac , Earth Balance, and one that I like by Annie's, the Annie's Organic Vegan Shells & Creamy Sauce Macaroni & Cheese. Plus, you can make the best vegan macaroni and cheese ever with my recipe right here.