What Exactly Is Cheese Powder, Anyway? (VIDEO)

WATCH: What Exactly Is Cheese Powder, Anyway?

The average American consumer eats around 23 pounds of cheese per year, explains The New Yorker. But in addition to the real stuff, Americans are also eating a lot of cheese powder, which often doesn't contain a ton of actual cheese.

On an industrial level, cheese powder is made by spray drying. That means it is melted down into a liquid, combined with additives, and then sprayed through a nozzle to convert it into droplets. The droplets are then blasted with hot air and vaporized, resulting in a powder.

Most modern cheese powder -- think the stuff on box mac and cheese and Doritos -- have more additives than cheese. Whey, vegetable oil, various forms of sodium and dyes can all be found in cheese powder. In Cheetos, for example, there is more whey than cheddar cheese.

While Americans' hunger for cheese powder-y snacks probably isn't going away any time soon, consumers are becoming more concerned about the ingredients in packaged food. Recently, Kraft announced that three of its mac and cheese varieties will no longer contain any artificial dye.

So is the future of cheese powder in jeopardy? You tell us!

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