Written by Kaylee Franklin
I would say I am a macaroni and cheese connoisseur. I was a super picky eater as a kid, and mac n cheese was always a go-to. Especially in my college days…if I’m being honest. Even as an adult, I have mac n cheese for a meal, or incorporate it into my meals at least once a week.
That’s why when I heard of a new mac and cheese brand that was trying to make the category better…I mean gooder, I was intrigued. GOODLES is reimagining everyone's beloved mac and cheese, making it nutrient-dense, protein-packed, and tasting as good as it feels to eat.
In Episode 116: Jobs, Joy, and Joining Forces, we hear from Jen Zeszut, the Co-Founder and CEO of GOODLES. She shares with us her journey from growing up in the Bay Area, to becoming a buyer at Cost Plus World Market, to being offered $3M to start her first company Scout Labs, to becoming CEO of Cerebelly, to starting GOODLES in November 2020. She talks about a few lucky breaks she's encountered throughout her career journey, her experience with a very shady investor, her views on leadership, and why the way you do work matters.
We even got to hear about the all-star team that is behind GOODLES, including Deb Luster, the former Co-founder and President of Annie's, Paul Earle, a branding expert and a former brand manager at Kraft, and Gal Gadot, an award-winning actress known for playing Wonder Woman.
Before we move into the tastings, let's cover the basics. When it comes to a box of GOODLES, you have five flavor options. Cheddy Mac, Mover & Shaker, Shella Good, Twist My Parm, and their newest addition, Vegan is Believin’. Each box gets its designated color so that you can tell them apart on the Target shelves, and online of course! I found the main four flavors (not including Vegan is Believin’) at my local Target, and they were priced at $2.99 each. If you check out their website, you can get a pack of four for the price of $13.57, or you could opt for the twelve-pack at $35.60.They also have a variety pack, which I would recommend so you can try every flavor. Their variety pack comes in the four and twelve-pack options at $14.44 or $37.99.
If you haven’t noticed, here at Stairway to CEO, we’re big on branding. That’s why I love GOODLES. Not only do they have different color boxes, but they also have all the key ingredients, nutrients, and facts listed on every box, plus the names of each flavor, which are my favorite.
All their noodles contain wheat flour, chickpea protein, wheat protein, and nutrients extracted from broccoli, spinach, kale, pumpkin, sweet potato, sunflower seeds cranberry, chlorella, maitake mushroom, and shiitake mushroom. This stellar list of ingredients is what gives each box of mac, 14 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber with prebiotics, and 21 nutrients…and yes, they still taste amazing!
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into the tasting!
Starting with my personal favorite, Shella Good! This one is their staple white cheddar flavor and is creamy and tangy all in one bite! I liked this flavor the best out of the four as it was a different take on mac and cheese than I’m used to, providing a different cheese and noodle, all while giving me that mac and cheese meal I love…but gooder!
Next on the list is the ultimate go-to of mac and cheese, the good ol’ Cheddy Mac. Everyone’s beloved favorite, but even better, Cheddy Mac makes your dreams come true. As GOODLES likes to state on their website “classic creamy cheddar mac tastes like your childhood, but eats like a balanced meal.” With all that protein and other amazing nutrients, your new favorite mac and cheese is definitely a balanced meal.
Coming up next is Lee’s favorite, the Mover & Shaker, a blend of romano and parmesan cheeses, it's their take on a savory, peppery, and parmy mac, with the touch of cacio e pepe. I was really thinking this one would be my favorite after hearing Lee’s raving reviews, and being that I always load my mac with lots of pepper but I couldn’t get past the smell. The cheese and noodles were a solid 10/10 though!
The last up of the signature four is Twist My Parm! Featuring an asiago cheese sauce that coats a spiral noodle, this one really grabs your attention. It reminds me of an alfredo, but much better…sorry, gooder. It’s definitely an indulging flavor, and I like that it offers the different noodle and cheese, similar to the Shella Good.
For my vegan friends out there, you’ll have to let me know how the Vegan and Believin’ mac is! I’m stoked to hear your responses.
Apart from having amazing mac and cheese, GOODLES is a really cool up-and-coming brand that’s taking off with their marketing. Not only do they make their boxes stand out, but their merch shop is chefs kiss. From hats, joggers, hoodies, sweatshirts, a skateboard with bowls on it, rollerskates, and so much more; they’re definitely setting themselves apart from the other mac and cheese brands out there. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention their phone tree. Give it a try yourself at 707-GOODLES. Press 3 for a good time and you’ll be asked to press a number based on if you’re a human, a unicorn, or…one of their top competitors. I guarantee a good laugh, and you won’t regret it.
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