It’s hard to think of anything more symbolic of the late 20th century than Velveeta. Proudly labeled as a “pasteurized process cheese product” (or “cheese spread,” for those who remember that era), Kraft’s famed block is the epitome of a time when the great inventions were the things that could reduce previously difficult tasks to quick, easy, prefabricated processes. Just like everything in The Jetsons, Velveeta was something you could use to create a full meal in no time.
In recent years, many shoppers have gravitated toward more natural whole foods, leaving processed products like Velveeta behind. Nevertheless, Velveeta still has a following in certain markets, in large part because of its affordability and versatility.
Aldi, like many other grocers, has its own version of Velveeta.
Clancy’s Cheese Melt is an Aldi Regular Buy, meaning it can be found on shelves all the time. (Aldi also occasionally stocks a queso blanco version.) It comes in a 32-ounce (2-pound) brick that can be stored for some time in the pantry. Once it’s open, however, it has to, like Velveeta, be refrigerated.
Nutritionally, each 1-ounce serving of Clancy’s Cheese Melt has 80 calories (50 of them from fat), as well as 6 grams of fat (9% of your recommended daily allowance), 3.5 grams of saturated fat (18%), 20 mg of cholesterol (7%), 410 mg of sodium (17%), and 4 grams of protein. That’s very similar to Velveeta. The Clancy’s Cheese Melt packaging boasts that it has “1/3 less fat than cheddar.”
Whether processed cheese is “good” for you or not is bound to be a matter of fierce debate, especially for whole food proponents. We’re not going to attempt to settle the debate here, although there are some experts who argue it’s no better or worse for you than regular cheese, if not quite as tasty.
If you are okay using it, the biggest question probably is how it compares to Velveeta. We’ve used both Clancy’s Cheese Melt and Velveeta over the years, and we’re hard-pressed to detect much of a difference between the two. They have similar consistencies, taste similar, and ultimately work about the same.
Clancy’s Cheese Melt might not be the most natural block of cheese, but if you’re looking for a cheaper Velveeta substitute, look no further. It does exactly what Kraft’s big-name block does, and for less money.